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Belarusian nuclear regulator interested in Swiss experience


MINSK, 25 November (BelTA) – Nuclear safety regulations were discussed as Director General of the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) Hans Wanner visited Belarus, representatives of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) told BelTA. Hans Wanner has been the chairman of the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA) for a long time.

Hans Wanner presented operating principles of ENSI and WENRA, the experience of Swiss organizations that provide scientific and technical support for the regulatory body. He spoke at length about mutual correlation between nuclear safety and nuclear security.

In turn, the Belarusian side presented information about the current state and development of the system designed to regulate nuclear and radiation safety in the country. In particular, the development of the system of organizations meant to provide scientific and technical support to the Emergencies Ministry in matters of ensuring nuclear and radiation safety was mentioned. Efforts of the Belarusian government to overcome consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe and revive the affected territories were also mentioned.

According to Gosatomnadzor, this visit was of great importance for the Belarusian agency since it has comparatively little experience of regulating the safety of nuclear power plants. Switzerland has many years of experience of regulating the safe operation of nuclear power plants and research reactors while WENRA is a platform for multilateral cooperation of European regulators. It is a platform where modern strategic approaches to regulation are worked out as well as reference safety levels for nuclear reactors. It is a platform where common matters relating to regulatory work are discussed.

The visit took place as Belarus is taking steps to commission the first unit of its nuclear power plant. Expert evaluation continues as part of the process to license the operation of the first unit. The implementation of the national action plan compiled in the wake of stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant has begun.

This year Belarus has welcomed the International Atomic Energy Agency's State Systems of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material (ISSAS) mission and an Operational Safety Review (Pre-OSART) mission. Belarus is getting ready to welcome an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission in early 2020.

Gosatomnadzor constantly studies international experience, including the experience accumulated in countries of the European Union, in order to improve the country's nuclear and radiation safety system and its individual components. The information the agency receives is used to draft technical regulatory acts on matters of nuclear and radiation safety, strategic plans, and substantiate future steps meant to develop the nuclear and radiation safety infrastructure in Belarus.