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IAEA's nuclear security advisory mission to visit Belarus in mid-2021

Photo courtesy of the Energy Ministry

MINSK, 21 September (BelTA) – The International Atomic Energy Agency's nuclear security advisory mission will visit Belarus in mid-2021. Belarusian Energy Minister Viktor Karankevich made the statement as he met with IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi on the sidelines of the 64th session of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna, the Belarusian Energy Ministry press service told BelTA.

Viktor Karankevich noted: “Cooperation with the IAEA in matters of implementation of the national nuclear energy program and the development of the nuclear energy infrastructure plays a special role at this stage. The invitation of the agency's assessment missions to Belarus is an important part of the work. Seven missions like that were arranged in 2012-2020. The last of the missions, which are recommended for countries that build their first ever nuclear power plant, -- a nuclear security advisory mission – will visit Belarus in mid-2021.”

Recommendations and proposals produced as a result of these missions are at the core of the national action plans and represent an important guideline for Belarus for the sake of developing the nuclear energy infrastructure and improving the regulation of nuclear and radiation safety.

Safety has been the overriding priority at all stages of construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, Viktor Karankevich stressed. Belarus voluntarily arranged stress tests of the nuclear power plant under construction taking into account European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) specifications. Belarus arranged a peer review of the national report on the stress tests in 2018. As part of the European Union's practice in 2019 Belarus prepared a national action plan on results of the stress tests, which provides for executing measures to implement the given recommendations. The action plan is being implemented. “Moreover, we've virtually finished fulfilling the recommendations, which European Union experts identify as priority ones for implementation before the first power-generating unit is commissioned,” Viktor Karankevich said.

Apart from that, Belarus voluntarily invited European Union experts to perform a peer review of the national action plan in the wake of the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. The review will be completed within the next few months.

Viktor Karankevich noted that the reactor power startup of the first unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will take place on 7 November. He invited the IAEA director general to consider the possibility of visiting Belarus in order to participate in the event.