Russian fuel company TVEL has signed an agreement with the Belarus NPP on scientific and technical support for NPP decommissioning. TVEL is responsible within Rosatom for the decommissioning of nuclear and radiation hazardous facilities and the management of radioactive waste. The Belarus NPP project is currently nearing completion. Unit 1 began commercial operation in 2021, and commissioning of unit 2 is planned for later in 2023.

Belarus NPP in Ostravets comprises f two VVER-1200 power units based on the NPP-2006 project The 2011 intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the plant provides for cooperation in the design, construction and turnkey commissioning of the units. Russia supported the project with a $10bn to cover 90% of the overall cost.

Under the new agreement, TVEL will provide consulting services on the preparation and decommissioning of nuclear power units, comprising developing a methodological basis for managing the cost of decommissioning and a concept for decommissioning based on various options. It will detail the selection and justification of the best option, which will include: the main measures to ensure the safety; a list of required systems and equipment; proposals and recommendations for the dismantling and decontamination of equipment and structures; assessment of the total quantity, type and categories of radwaste generated during decommissioning; and information on other parameters important for decommissioning planning.

“The Russian nuclear industry has gained vast experience and formed a portfolio of technological solutions in the field of the final stage of the nuclear fuel cycle, the elimination of nuclear heritage sites, as well as the management of radioactive waste, including their final isolation,” said TVEL’s Director of Decommissioning Programmes, Eduard Nikitin. “As part of strengthening cooperation with the Republic of Belarus, Rosatom will provide comprehensive support and offer a safe, efficient and economically acceptable approach to decommissioning nuclear power units and radioactive waste management,” he added.

Image: The Belarus nuclear power plant (courtesy of Rosatom)