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ENSREG experts to visit Belarus in December to review plan of actions on BelNPP stress tests


MINSK, 29 October (BelTA) – Experts of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) are expected to visit Belarus in December 2020 as part of a peer review of the plan of actions following the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, BelTA learned from Oleg Sobolev, a consultant of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor).

The official said that the key result of the stress tests is recommendations on further continuous improvement of safety and increase of the existing safety margins of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. These recommendations were used as the foundation for the national action plan, which was published in 2019. “This year we've already started arranging events of the peer review of this action plan together with the European Commission. A group of ENSREG experts is expected to come to Belarus in December and visit the nuclear power plant construction site,” Oleg Sobolev said.

He explained that the experts perused the national action plan and the measures the Belarusian side has taken in response to ENSREG recommendations before coming to Belarus. Apart from that, the Belarusian side will send answers to the questions asked by the European experts.

The ENSREG experts will release a report that will outline how their recommendations are being fulfilled, how the national action plan progresses, what measures have already been implemented, and so on, Oleg Sobolev noted.

The official reminded that stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant had been performed in accordance with the European Union's procedure (a self-evaluation, a national evaluation, and a peer review by ENSREG). A group of European experts studied documentation and blueprints of the Belarusian nuclear power plant's safeguards. They also evaluated how the nuclear power plant is supposed to react to unfavorable phenomena.

Stress tests represent a one-time off-schedule evaluation of the resilience of a nuclear power plant to unfavorable weather phenomena. The organization of stress tests was prompted by the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.

Stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant were carried out in 2016. The ability of the Belarusian nuclear power plant to withstand extreme unfavorable natural phenomena and their combinations (earthquakes, tsunami, floods, and the rest) was evaluated.

ENSREG performed a peer review of results of the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in 2017-2018. No safety deficiencies (failures to meet requirements of Belarusian legislation based on IAEA safety standards) were found. ENSREG experts put forth a number of recommendations on safety margins above the limits specified by legislation and the safety standards. A national action plan was put together in 2019 in response to results of the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.