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Belarus' sufficient capability to train personnel for nuclear energy industry pointed out

Lilia Dulinets

MINSK, 28 October (BelTA) – Belarus is capable of training the personnel the national nuclear energy industry needs. Deputy Director of the Nuclear Energy Department of the Belarusian Energy Ministry Lilia Dulinets made the statement during a roundtable session hosted by BelTA on 28 October.

The official said: “Time has proven that we've made the right choice and now successfully train specialists for nuclear energy industry. I'd like to say that the Republic of Belarus is self-sufficient in this regard.”

She pointed out that back in 2007 before the decision in favor of building a nuclear power plant was made, the Energy Ministry and the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus used international experience to evaluate what specialists the Belarusian nuclear power plant will need. The sides concluded it was necessary to work out a special personnel training program.

“We also understood that we would not be able to fill all the positions with young graduates. We would definitely need experienced workers – about 70 key specialists, who we would have to seek abroad. Back before the decision to build the nuclear power plant was made, we had a clear vision of how we should proceed in order to supply the industry with the personnel it needs,” Lilia Dulinets said.

As it trains personnel for the nuclear industry, Belarus takes into account experience of other countries, which is accumulated in the International Atomic Energy Agency. Belarus and the IAEA established fruitful cooperation a long time ago. In the course of implementing its nuclear energy program Belarus relies on the Milestones approach that the IAEA has developed specifically for the countries that have decided to build their first nuclear power plant. The approach provides for creating nuclear energy infrastructure and developing it along 19 various directions. Personnel training is one of them.

At present Belarus and the IAEA have four technical cooperation projects, including two in the sphere of nuclear energy. Lilia Dulinets explained that these two projects are aimed at bolstering the potential of the company in charge of operating the Belarusian nuclear power plant and the regulatory authority in order to ensure the nuclear installation gets commissioned and will be operated safely.

As a novice country Belarus has welcomed the entire lineup of evaluation missions the International Atomic Energy Agency recommends. Certainly, personnel training was looked into during the missions. This year Belarus has welcomed a mission that evaluated the national nuclear energy infrastructure, in other words, the country's readiness to commission the nuclear power plant. The results were good, the Energy Ministry representative said.

Apart from that, experts of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) have visited the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. A peer review by Rosenergoatom specialists was completed recently.

“The overall conclusion of these missions reads that the national personnel training system is capable of supplying all the organizations involved in this project with specialists and can also ensure the safe operation of the Belarusian nuclear power plant,” Lilia Dulinets concluded.

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 Russian state nuclear industry corporation Rosatom is the general contractor.