Completion of unit 1 at the Belarus NPP will be put back one year because of the replacement of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) shell which was involved in an incident in July, according to Alexander Lokshin, first deputy director of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom. Belarus NPP, under construction at Ostravets by Russian company Atomstroyexport, will consist of two VVER-1200 reactor units. Unit 1 was originally scheduled for start-up in 2018.
However, on 9 July, one of the sub-contractors moved the RPV shell from one recess to another, but there was a skewed load. As a result, it slipped on the supports and hung diagonally, coming into contact with the floor. Lokshin said that there was no serious damage except scratched paint and a pair of tubes that could be easily replaced. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Energy of Belarus insisted on its replacement and Rosatom agreed. To speed up the process the RPV is to be transported to Belarus from the second reactor unit at the Leningrad NPP Phase two, which is at the highest level of readiness. But that will shift the date for operation of Belarus-1 by 10-12 months.