Belarus regulator reports on NPP stress tests

20 November 2017

The Belarus Department of Nuclear and Radiation Safety (Gosatomnadzor) has published a national report on the results of stress tests for the nuclear power plant under construction at Ostrovets, local media reported. 

It concluded that the plant, which uses a Generation 3+ Russian design, fully meets the highest international safety standards adopted after the 2011 Fukushima accident. The national report has now been submitted to the European Nuclear Safety Oversight Group and the European Commission for an international peer review.

Gosatomnadzor head Olga Lugovskaya said Belarus realises the importance of ensuring a sufficient level of security for the plant. "We note that this level of safety is defined in the national stress test prepared by us. We are a newcomer to the implementation of a nuclear power programme. For us the stress test procedure is not only a reliable tool for verifying and confirming the safety of NPPs, but also enables growth in terms of developing technical competencies for the technical support organisations that participated in the preparation of the national report," she said.

The Belarusian experts assessed the earthquake risk and, according to the results of a complex probabilistic analysis, the maximum earthquake intensity in the area of the station site is 6 on the MSK scale. However, the reactor facilities are designed to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of 8 on the MSK scale. As to flooding, although floods in the vicinity of the reactor site are not possible (for this, water would have to rise 51.5 metres above the historic maximum), the station would nevertheless withstand such a level of flooding.  The plant would also be able to endure the most extreme weather conditions (which occur every 10,000 years), such as a rise in air temperature of up to 50C, or a tornado with a speed of up to 62 miles/sec, or even a combination of these two events.

Belarus volunteered to conduct a comprehensive assessment of nuclear safety based on the EU criteria when in 2011 it joined the Joint Declaration on Risk Assessment and Nuclear Safety. 
The Belarusian NPP carried out a self-assessment of safety and in March 2017 submitted a report to the Gosatomnadzor. The Department then organised a safety review of the report, which was carried out by the Joint Institute for Energy and Nuclear Research "Sosny", and was the basis for preparation of the national report.

Lugovskaya said a team of European experts has already been formed to consider the national report over several months. "By prior arrangement, in March (2018) we expect the arrival of European experts for discussions, exchange of opinions and, possibly, the formulation of proposals for our national report," she added.

Photo: Belarus construction site (Credit: Rosatom)

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