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Smart cities and electric transport – what areas will be developed thanks to Belarusian nuclear power plant’s launch

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is expected to start generating electricity this autumn. The power startup of the first unit and its connection to the national power grid are scheduled for Q4 2020. Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus Vladimir Gusakov talked to BelTA about the advantages the nuclear power plant will give to the Belarusian economy and about the areas that will be developed thanks to the nuclear power plant’s launch.

Energy and ecology

Active use of electricity is globally recognized as a measure of progressiveness of the economy and manufacturing chains, the official noted. The commissioning of the Belarusian nuclear power plant is a breakthrough that can be compared to the launch of the first Belarusian space satellite. Nuclear energy also enhances Belarus’ image. It implies the highest level of the national technical base, personnel training and scientific support because a number of operations have been done thanks to Belarusian R&D products and by Belarusian specialists.

The official pointed out that the launch of the nuclear power plant is a step towards stronger energy security and a lower environmental footprint, which is largely determined by the so-called carbon energy industry. Belarus will also save a considerable amount of money by importing less natural gas. In turn, it will have a positive impact on the balance of payments. The decommissioning of outdated equipment or its mothballing is another thing to consider.

“Peaceful uses of nuclear energy open up new opportunities and will allow Belarus to improve competences. One can say that the world is on the brink of inventing controlled thermonuclear synthesis. It will represent a revolutionary leap towards technologies of the future. We just have to be in the leading group,” Vladimir Gusakov said.

New projects

Vladimir Gusakov also talked about the plans Belarusian scientists are making in anticipation of the launch of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Among promising areas he mentioned the development of electric transport, the expanded use of electricity for heating homes and supplying hot water in households. Scientists of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus have made considerable headway into design solutions and components of electric vehicles. “We cooperate with a number of industrial enterprises. It has allowed us to make samples of electric vehicles and personal electric transport solutions, buses, trucks, and other vehicles. They are highly ready for batch production. In other words, these are not lab samples but vehicles with proper design documents. It is now necessary to secure maximum localization of components, particularly energy accumulators, including supercapacitors,” Vladimir Gusakov said.

The other areas include the electrification of railways and the lighting of automobile roads, the implementation of smart city and smart home concepts. These technologies need networks, sensors, actuators, and mechanisms. Electricity is crucial. “We should not forget about supercomputer technologies, big data storage, cloud computing – all of that will require ample supplies of electricity,” Vladimir Gusakov noted.

The official believes that the Belarusian nuclear power plant will also allow creating an entire crop of energy-intensive enterprises in such industries as metallurgy, chemistry, and petrochemical industry. Opportunities for the development of hydrogen-based energy industry will be opened up. The new level of electricity availability will enable even broader use of lasers, LED technologies, and other ones. It will be possible to use clean energy to set up enterprises to make composite materials, set up a nationwide system for precision farming and animal husbandry, food production. Scientists intend to offer a broad range of R&D products for various branches of the Belarusian economy.