MINSK, January 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian and Belarusian experts on nuclear and radioactive safety will conduct a joint inspection of a nuclear power plant, which is under construction in the northwest of Belarus, a spokesman for the Belarusian nuclear safety watchdog Gosatomnadzor said on Monday.
“We are preparing the first inspection of the nuclear power plant with the participation of experts from [Russian state safety watchdog] Rostechnadzor,” Oleg Sobolev said in an interview with Itar-Tass.
He said it was initially planned to hold the joint inspection of the plant, which is constructed in the Ostrovets district near the border with Lithuania, in February, but the date may be subjected to changes.
In all, he said, two joint inspections of Russian and Belarusian nuclear safety experts are planned for this year, while a nuclear safety body of Gosatomnadzor is set to open also this year for permanent inspections at the plant.
Sobolev said that the assembly of the second reactor would begin as soon as a license for construction works was issued. He said necessary documents were submitted in early December last year and usually it takes up to one year to obtain the license.
“However, we expect that the permission for the construction of the second power unit will be issued earlier since we already have experience on licensing of the construction of the first energy unit,” he said.
The plant is being constructed upon a decree issued by President Alexander Lukashenko in January of 2008. Russia’s Atomstroyexport company was chosen as the contractor for the building of the plant’s two reactors. According to construction plans the first nuclear reactor should be put into operation in 2016 and the second in 2018.
Initial plans to build a nuclear power plant in Belarus were voiced in 1980s, but were suspended after the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Belarusian plans to revive the project in 2008 prompted international concerns, particularly on behalf of Lithuania, which cited environmental safety reasons against the construction of the plant.