Progress continues at Belarus NPP

20 April 2016

Construction and installation of the two units of the Belarus NPP in Ostrovets is about 38% completed, Belarus deputy energy minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk told journalists in Minsk on 19 April. The plant, with two Russian 1,200MWe AES-2006 type VVER pressurised water reactor units, is being built with Russian assistance and financing. Mikhadyuk said financing and work on the project are on schedule. He also noted that, after commissioning, the plant would serve the domestic market. Earlier reports had said Russia and Belarus may consider jointly organising exports of the plant's electricity. Commissioning of unit 1 is planned for 2018, and unit 2 for 2020.

Alexander Lokshin, first deputy director for operations management at Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom confirmed that construction was on schedule. "It does not mean that there are no problems in the course of construction; problems exist all the time but they don't affect critical functions of the plant construction," he said. He explained that the problems were "mainly of an organisational and not an engineering nature" and were solved in close cooperation with Belarus. He added that Rosatom was making use of recent experience received gained in the construction of Russia's Novovoronezh NPP Phase II, which is the reference plant for the VVER-1200 reactor.

The project was praised on 19 April by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Yukiya Amano during a visit to the plant. He told Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, that Belarus "had made impressive progress" with its nuclear power programme and welcomed its extensive use of IAEA expert peer review services to help to ensure safety. Belarus began considering nuclear power in the 1980s. In October 2012, a final report from the IAEA's Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review mission to Belarus concluded that the country had "made important progress in its development of nuclear infrastructure".

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