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Safe design, precautions of Belarusian nuclear power plant explained

30.04.2021

MINSK, 30 April (BelTA) – A number of risks were taken into account in the course of construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Chief Specialist for Nuclear Safety Regulation Office of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) Irina Vityaz explained what risks had been taken into account and what measures had been taken to minimize them during public hearings on granting the license to operate the first unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant on 30 April, BelTA has learned.

According to the source, the Belarusian nuclear power plant is designed to handle the following natural and artificial impacts: the fall of a light aircraft weighing as much as 5.6 tonnes and flying 100 meters per second, seismic events (a seven-point earthquake), an air shock wave as strong as 30kPa, strong snowfalls, strong winds, temperatures, hurricanes, and tornadoes. In order to evaluate these impacts, natural phenomena that may be repeated once every 10,000 years were taken into account.

Irina Vityaz noted that the initial probability of an aircraft crash exceeded standard requirements. “This is why upon Gosatomnadzor's demands specialists of the nuclear power plant initiated clearance of the air space above the Belarusian nuclear power plant site. As a result, the course of the flights that cross the Belarusian-Lithuanian border was adjusted, a no-fly zone with a radius of 6km and as high as 14km was declared for military and commercial aircraft and drones. Thanks to these measures the probability of an aircraft falling on the Belarusian nuclear power plant site was significantly reduced. The figures now meet standard requirements,” the official noted.

The seismic impact on the nuclear power plant was also evaluated. According to Irina Vityaz, the strength of an earthquake at the Ostrovets site is supposed to max out at 7 points. “All the buildings and structures that affect nuclear and radiation safety were designed taking it into account. The reactor building can survive an earthquake with the intensity six times as much as 7 points on the MSK scale. An evaluation of resilience of the primary equipment to seismic phenomena demonstrated it can handle earthquakes up to 8 points strong. In other words, durability and safety margins have been secured with regard to this kind of impact,” she noted.

In her words, natural phenomena, surface and subsurface waters, aerologic and meteorological parameters of the Belarusian nuclear power plant site have been monitored since 2012. The probability of the site getting flooded is negligibly low.

Irina Vityaz also reminded that the Belarusian nuclear power plant site had been subjected to stress tests. “The evaluation demonstrated that there are no safety deficits for normal operation of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. No threats to the safety of the nuclear power plant on the part of external impacts of natural and man-made varieties have been found,” she concluded.

Public hearings are taking place today before the license to operate the first unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant is issued. The public hearings proceed in a hybrid mode. Several studios are connected by videoconference technologies. The purpose of the public hearings is to notify the general public about progress and results of an expert evaluation of safety and conformance of the state enterprise Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant with license requirements and terms as the Emergencies Ministry works to grant the license to operate the first unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

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