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Opportunities after Belarusian nuclear power plant launch outlined

Director of the Power Engineering Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Anton Brin has talked to BelTA and mentioned what areas can be developed in the country after the Belarusian nuclear power plant is commissioned.

Anton Brin said that the construction of apartment houses that rely heavily on electricity is a promising area. Residents of such houses will use electricity for heating, hot water supply, and cooking. It has already been done in Belarus. “If electricity rates encourage electricity consumption in such houses, I think we will be able to switch to such a technology in the future,” the official said.

In his opinion, the launch of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will also encourage the development of electric transport. “We will get a very good source of electricity. Why shouldn't we use this advantage and switch to a new means of transportation? Moreover, we have the infrastructure for it, Belorusneft is busy building car charging stations. Apart from that, Belarusian buyers of electric cars enjoy a number of privileges. Electric transport is very promising. The entire world is moving in this direction,” the scientist noted.

Electricity can also be used to produce hydrogen. “Certainly, natural gas has a higher calorific heat value, it is easier to extract, but the supply may run out one day while hydrogen can be generated and used endlessly. However, at present investments in it exceed benefits. There are also problems with storing hydrogen. Nevertheless, many experts say that hydrogen fuel is a promising type of energy,” Anton Brin noted.

The Power Engineering Institute also looks into the infrared heating technology. “It is very effective because it allows heating the necessary surface without heating the air. Electricity is used for it as well,” the scientist added.

Anton Brin mentioned the effectiveness of nuclear energy in comparison with other sources of electricity. In his words, the capability utilization index of nuclear power plants can go as high as 92% while that of steam power plants is only 30% or 40% at best.

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 is the general contractor. The physical launch of the first unit is scheduled for 2020.