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Permits to commission first unit of Belarusian nuclear power plant to be issued gradually

Documents to permit the launch of the first unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will be issued step by step in accordance with the Emergencies Ministry's resolution No.32 of 30 July 2020. The resolution amends the general provisions on ensuring the safety of nuclear power plants, BelTA learned from representatives of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor).

In line with the document the first charge of the standard nuclear reactor core, subcritical trials of the reactor unit, physical experiments at the minimal controlled operation level, reactor power startup, and production trials can be permitted after the readiness for the relevant stages of the nuclear power plant commissioning is verified and after special permits (licenses) are obtained. A nuclear power plant unit can be operated only after the permit is obtained. The permit is issued after certain stages are completed and before the government commission in charge of accepting the facility for operation starts working.

Thus, the regulatory body will have to issue permits for the abovementioned stages of commissioning of the first unit step by step and taking into account the readiness of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. The loading of nuclear fuel into the nuclear reactor core will be the first stage. Once all the stages are completed, the regulatory body will consider granting the license to operate the reactor unit.

The approach conforms with international practices and International Atomic Energy Agency recommendations, which are specified by the International Nuclear Safety Group (INSAG) report “Licensing the first nuclear power plant” (INSAG-26).

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.