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Bill in development in Belarus to regulate safety aspects of nuclear energy usage


MINSK, 2 March (BelTA) – A bill on regulating safety in the course of using nuclear energy is being developed in Belarus. Head of the Legal Support Sector of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) Yelena Zhigalko mentioned it during a briefing in BelTA's press center.

According to the source, it has been 13 years since the law on nuclear energy usage was adopted. It has not changed fundamentally since then. Pinpoint amendments were introduced in 2011. However, the implementation of the nuclear power plant construction project and its forthcoming operation have accelerated the process of the document's correction. This year's lawmaking plans include the development of a new law on regulating safety aspects in the course of using nuclear energy. The bill will take into account the recommendations and proposals submitted as a result of International Atomic Energy Agency missions as much as possible. The bill is supposed to be brought into the House of Representatives of the National Assembly in March 2022.

According to Gosatomnadzor Deputy Head Grigory Astashko, the new law will more clearly stipulate the responsibility of the nuclear power plant operating company to ensure safety in the course of its work. Matters concerning the organization of the regulatory authority's work will be clarified as well.

A law on radiation safety has been passed in Belarus as well. It came into force in June 2020. International experts describe the law in positive terms, Yelena Zhigalko went on saying. The main novelties include the introduction of a differentiated approach depending on the degree of danger of a source, the definition of a standardization system and technical standardization regulatory acts. The law introduced consulting in the area of radiation safety as well as a procedure for registering types of sources of ionizing radiation.

Yelena Zhigalko pointed out that a new bill on licensing is in development in Belarus. “Within the framework of this process we are getting away from blanket regulation. The relevant presidential decree has been drafted and forwarded to the Belarus President Administration for consideration. The decree will approve a regulation on licensing activities in the area of usage of nuclear energy and sources of ionizing radiation. Apart from licensing it is also necessary to adjust the unified legal classification system, which lacks legislation on nuclear and radiation safety for now,” she said.

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.