Audit conducted of Belarus NPP

13 September 2016

The State Control Committee of Belarus and the Accounts Chamber of Russia have looked at the "performance of obligations" laid out in the inter-governmental agreement between Belarus and Russia for construction of Belarus's first NPP at Ostrovets, in the Grodno region. The audit assessed: "The fullness of the execution by the parties of their commitments; the adequacy of measures taken by the competent authorities and organizations to ensure implementation of the agreement; and the use of Russian export credit funds."

The Accounts Chamber of Russia said in a 6 September  statement that the audit had found the obligations had "in the main been carried out" and three contracts for "design and preparatory works" worth $9bn, signed by customer Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP), and general contractor Russia's Atomstroyexport (ASE), had been completed. By 1 June, BNPP had accepted work worth $2.2bn, or 24% of the total value of the contracts, of which $1.8bn was paid using Russian credit. Unit 1 is 32% complete and unit 2 is 10% complete, it said, adding that Belarus has fully met its obligations regarding the Russian loan, with interest paid on time and no arrears.

Russia and Belarus signed a nuclear co-operation agreement in May 2009 followed in September 2009 with ASE signing an agreement to assist in a feasibility study on the construction of a NPP in Belarus. An intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Belarus specifically on cooperation in the construction of the NPP was signed in March 2011. Operation of unit 1 is scheduled for November 2018 and unit 2 for July 2020, providing a total net capacity of 2,340MWe.

In early August, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom offered to replace the reactor shell for unit 2 at the plant after workers dropped it during a trial installation in July. Belarus deputy energy minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk said a decision would be taken on the use of the equipment only after a thorough investigation of the "abnormal situation".

The State Entity Nuclear Power Plant Construction Directorate (Belarus AEC) recently announced that an investigation had been launched into an accident at the construction site on 26 August that resulted in the death of a Russian subcontractor. No details were disclosed but Belarus Digest reported that the incident was caused by the "explosion of an oxygen gas tank".

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