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BelNPP to start electricity production by November


Plans are in place to produce first kilowatt-hours of electricity at the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP) by November 2020, Belarus' Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk said in an interview to the Respublika newspaper, BelTA has learned.

“The work goes on schedule. Safety is a top priority for us. No rush, everything is done strictly according to the regulations, under the control of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor). Preparations are underway to bring the reactor plant to the minimum controlled power level. The next stage is power start-up with the connection of the unit to the country's power grid. Plans are in place to produce the first kilowatt-hours of electricity at the Belarusian nuclear power plant by November,” Mikhail Mikhadyuk said.

Work on the integration of the BelNPP in the energy system of the country continues, he added. This means the construction of 800 MW of highly maneuverable peak-reserve sources and the construction of large power plants and electric boilers with a total capacity of 916 MW. Some 1,700km of high-voltage power lines have been constructed and reconstructed to ensure power supply from the plant to any region of the country.

The deputy minister also said that the design solutions for the BelNPP power output scheme were agreed with the possible lack of electrical connections with the Lithuanian energy system in mind. “In the case of a scenario with the disconnection of interstate overhead power lines between the countries once the first unit of the BelNPP is commissioned, the stable operation of the combined energy system of Belarus will be secured thanks to the existing overhead lines with Russia and Ukraine, taking into account the peak-reserve sources and electric boilers under construction,” he explained.

As for electricity exports, various options are currently worked out and negotiations with potential partners are underway. Yet, it is too early to comment on the results. “I am confident that with the introduction of the nuclear power plant, the Belarusian electricity will become even more competitive in foreign markets. The economy will eventually arrange everything according to its own laws. This is above political ambitions,” Mikhail Mikhadyuk added.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast using a Russian design featuring two VVER-1200 reactors with the total output capacity of 2,400MW. Rosatom's engineering division – ASE Company – is the general contractor.