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European experts expected to visit Belarusian nuclear power plant in February

The media briefing in BelTA's press center

MINSK, 27 January (BelTA) – European experts are expected to visit the Belarusian nuclear power plant in February, BelTA learned from Oleg Sobolev, a consultant with the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor), on 27 January.

The official said: “A technical visit of European experts to the Belarusian nuclear power plant within the framework of a peer review of our national action plan resulting from the stress tests is supposed to take place the week that begins on 8 February.”

During the visit to the Belarusian nuclear power plant the European experts are expected to get familiar with the local safety system and documentation.

The sides are working on various aspects of the visit's organization now. “Technical expert consultations on three topics relating to the stress tests have been held this week. An administrative event on preparing the visit took place today,” the Gosatomnadzor representative explained.

BelTA reported earlier that Belarus has voluntarily organized stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in line with the European Union's procedure. 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.

A peer review of the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant was conducted by a team authorized by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG). The European Commission and ENSREG approved results of the peer review in early July 2018.

As a result 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, including those relating to additional safeguards and safety-enhancing equipment.

Experts of the European Commission and ENSREG were expected to visit the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant on 16-18 December 2020. That visit was cancelled.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast using the Russian design AES-2006 featuring two VVER-1200 reactors with the total output capacity of 2,400MW. The first unit is scheduled for commissioning in 2021, with the second one expected to go online in H1 2022.