Russia and Belarus to strengthen nuclear co-operation

2 February 2024

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed between the government of Russia and Belarus on strengthening strategic cooperation in the field of the peaceful uses of atomic energy and related high technologies. The document was signed by Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev and the Chairman of the Belarus State Committee for Science & Technology (SCSS), Sergey Shlychkov, on the sidelines of the meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State in St Petersburg.

The MOU was one of a raft of wide-ranging agreements signed during the state visit to Russia by Belarus President Alexander Lukashenka. It provides for the implementation of joint projects in non-energy applications of nuclear technologies including nuclear medicine, digitalisation, additive technologies, environmental remediation and the management of radioactive waste. Russian-Belarusian cooperation in these areas is focused on the use of the competencies of the Russian nuclear energy sector and Belarusian enterprises in the interests of ensuring the technological sovereignty of both countries, Rosatom noted.

In particular, the two sides will establish a multipurpose nuclear research reactor, a set of laboratories, a multipurpose irradiation centre and a nuclear medicine centre in Belarus. These will be both as separate facilities and part of a comprehensive project featuring several elements that together form the Centre for Nuclear Research & Technology. Other key areas include production of medical equipment, telecommunication technologies, modernisation of Belarusian industrial enterprises the use of automation and composite materials.

"Non-nuclear energy solutions are also relevant for bilateral cooperation. These include energy storage systems, utilisation of production and consumption waste, and the elimination of accumulated environmental damage,” according the SCSS. Special attention will be paid to the production of ionising radiation detectors and components, and improvement of infrastructure for the final isolation (burial) of radioactive waste."

This builds on already close ties between Belarus and Russia in the nuclear field including the construction by Rosatom of Belarus’s first NPP in Ostrovets in the Grodno region. A general contract for construction of a plant with two VVER-1200 reactors was signed in 2011, with first concrete poured for unit 1 in November 2013 and for unit 2 in May 2014. Unit 1 was connected to the grid in November 2020 and unit 2 began operation in November 2023.

Image courtesy of Rosatom

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