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European experts to visit Belarusian nuclear power plant on 16-18 December


MINSK, 15 December (BelTA) – Experts of the European Commission and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) will visit the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant on 16-18 December as part of a peer review of the national action plan compiled as a result of the stress tests, which were carried out in 2018, the press service of the Belarusian Energy Ministry told BelTA.

The group will include experts from Belgium, Austria, Germany, and Ukraine. The group will be led by Petteri Tiippana, Director General of the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

BelTA reported earlier that Belarus 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. Apart from that, the criteria included a broad range of risks relating to the human factor.

As a result of the stress tests the national regulatory authority Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (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. For instance, a movable diesel generator has been delivered to the Belarusian nuclear power plant site. If necessary, it will keep safety systems of the first unit running. All the design solutions to install and connect the diesel power generator have been implemented. The same solutions will be used at the second unit, too.

Apart from that, the replenishing of tanks for passive reactor heat dissipation systems has been successfully tested. These systems are designed to deal with accidents beyond the design basis and can siphon off residual heat from the reactor core via steam generators if the nuclear power plant experiences a total power outage. The necessary design solutions have been implemented as well. All these measures are designed to further enhance the safety of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, the press service of the Energy Ministry noted.

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.