MINSK, February 17. /TASS/. While implementing its first nuclear power plant project, Belarus remains firmly committed to standards laid by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the country’s Department on Nuclear and Radiation Security (Gosatomnadzor) said.
The statement was made in response to the European parliament’s call to Minsk to ensure full compliance with international safety standards while building the Belarus NPP.
"While implementing its first nuclear energy program, Belarus remains firmly commited to IAEA safety standards and fundamental security principles," the statement reads. "Belarus widely uses the set of instruments of international missions and partner inspections, it invited and received several IAEA missions on its own accord."
One more mission, within the framework of the IAEA’s International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS), has already been requested by Minsk and is scheduled for mid-2021. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the country will be visited by a follow-up mission of the Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS).
IAEA missions that have already visited Belarus pointed out in their final documents that the country has regulatory infrastructure for nuclear and radiation security and demonstrates firm commitment to implementation of nuclear and radiation security principles, the statement says.
Gosatomnadzor also said that several years before Unit 1 of the Belarusian NPP was put into operation, it had organized "all-encompassing expert review of documents that justify safe use of Unit 1." It also carried out stress tests to assess the power plant’s resilience to extreme natural conditions and to various combinations of them.
Starting from August 2020 and until present day, Unit 1 of the Belarusian NPP is undergoing numerous tests of its equipment. "No situation that can be described as emergency or abnormal has been registered," the Belarusian regulator said.
The Belarus NPP is being built in accordance with Russia’s standard project NPP-2006 some 18 kilometers away from the city of Ostrovets in the Grodno Region. It will have two 1,200-megawatt reactors. Atomstroiexport (an affiliate of Rosatom) is the general contractor. On December 21, the Belarusian Energy Ministry said the energy launch phase had been completed and the government's nuclear supervision watchdog issued a permission to go ahead with a multi-stage program for the first reactor’s experimental commercial operation. On February 2, the Energy Ministry said the first reactor had generated its first billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. The first reactor of the Belarus NPP is to be put in commercial operation in February 2021, and the second - in 2022.
Vilnius says that the Belarusian nuclear power plant built near the Lithuanian border and just 50 kilometers away from the capital fails to meet international nuclear power requirements. The Lithuanian parliament declared the Belarusian NPP a threat to national security and introduced a boycott of the electricity produced there. On February 11, the European parliament adopted a resolution demanding to put the project on hold due to safety concerns.