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ENSREG points out progress in addressing key issues of Belarusian nuclear power plant project


MINSK, 4 March (BelTA) – The European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) has passed a preliminary report on a peer review of the national action plan based on results of stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. The document was adopted by a consensus, BelTA learned from the European Commission website.

A statement made by ENSREG Chairperson Marta Ziakova pointed out the progress Belarus had made in acting upon ENSREG recommendations on priority issues of the national action plan. The ENSREG head spoke in positive terms about cooperation with the Belarusian side in the course of the work that had been done.

The safety of nuclear installations in the EU and in neighboring countries is a top priority of the European Commission and of the EU's national nuclear safety authorities, the European Commission website reads. The Commission will continue to engage with Belarus to ensure that the highest level of safety is guaranteed in the process of commissioning the nuclear power plant.

BelTA reported earlier that experts of the European Commission and ENSREG visited the site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant on 9-10 February 2021 as part of a peer review of the national action plan arising from results of the nuclear power plant's stress tests. Led by Director General of Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) Petteri Tiippana, the group included representatives of Austria, Belgium, UK, Hungary, Germany, Ukraine, and Finland. They visited various facilities of the nuclear power plant, were made familiar with the materials that reflect information about the realization of measures specified by the national action plan, and asked questions from representatives of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor), the Nuclear Energy Department of the Energy Ministry, a group of designers of the Russian company ASE, and specialists of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. The experts noted during the visit that they enjoyed full assistance of the Belarusian side in their work.

The Belarusian Energy Ministry press service said that the peer review includes several stages. The February visit is one of them. Experts are expected to come for a longer visit to the Belarusian nuclear power plant later on. The timeframe of the visit will depend on the pandemic situation.

Belarus voluntarily organized stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in line with the European Union's methods in 2016-2018. The stress tests evaluated the availability of safety margins in excess of those required by the national legislation. Criteria of the stress tests included checking the nuclear power plant's resilience to natural phenomena, in particular, earthquakes and floods, as well as various man-made accidents. Apart from that, risks relating to the human factor were analyzed. No safety deficiencies of the nuclear power plant were discovered as a result. On the basis of the stress tests the national regulatory authority (Gosatomnadzor) prepared a national action plan, which summarized both recommendations given as a result of a national expert evaluation and recommendations given by European peer review experts. The document contains 23 measures, which are supposed to be implemented in 2019-2025. Some of the recommendations have already been fulfilled.