New Generation Belarusian NPP: Safety Issues Priority

New Generation Belarusian NPP: Safety Issues Priority

The construction of the Ostrovets NPP  is a guarantee of economic and energy security of Belarus. The commissioning of the station opens up new prospects for the state not only in the field of nuclear energy, but in other sectors of the economy: the nuclear power plant will have a significant impact on the development of industry, medicine, and science. A reliable and environmentally friendly source of energy will meet the country's electricity needs, as well as increase the export potential of the Belarusian energy system. In short, the commissioning of its own nuclear power plant will mark the beginning of a new era of nuclear energy in Belarus.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant with two VVER-1200 reactors with a total installed electrical capacity of 2,400 MW is being built near Ostrovets in the Grodno region. For the first NPP in the country, the advanced Russian design AES-2006 with generation 3+ power units was selected.

The project is distinguished by improved safety characteristics and technical and economic indicators, it fully complies with international standards and recommendations of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) on nuclear and radiation safety. Experts emphasize that it uses the most modern means and safety systems that duplicate each other: four channels of safety systems, a melt localization device, a double containment shell of the reactor building, a hydrogen removal system, and passive heat removal systems.

By the way, the Baltic NPP, Novovoronezh NPP-2 and Leningrad NPP-2 are being built according to the same project in Russia. A similar plant is already in operation in China - the first stage of the Tianwan NPP, which is recognized by IAEA experts as one of the best in the world in terms of safety parameters.

Developing nuclear energy, Belarus regularly hosts regional IAEA seminars, becoming a platform for multilateral exchange of experience on nuclear and radiation safety.

Within the framework of the project "Public monitoring of the impact of the Belarusian NPP on the environment", which is implemented by the Belarusian public association "Environmental Initiative", agreements on cooperation in the environmental sphere were concluded with the Institute for Regional Development and Democracy (Lithuania) and the Interregional Public Environmental Movement "Oka" ( Russia). Partner organizations will regularly exchange experience in the field of environmental monitoring of nuclear facilities and inform the population of both the Republic of Belarus and neighboring countries about the state of the radiation background and the environmental impact of nuclear facilities under construction and operating in Belarus, Lithuania and Russia. Thus, according to the data obtained in the course of the survey, the radiation situation in the region of the construction of the Belarusian NPP is stable, the levels of radioactive contamination of environmental objects are extremely low.

Based on the results of stress tests of the Belarusian NPP and a peer review by the European group of regulatory bodies for nuclear safety ENSREG in 2017-2018, a document was developed that contains measures aimed at improving the safety level of the nuclear power plant. Gosatomnadzor has taken over the implementation of measures in the area of responsibility of the Belarusian NPP. In turn, Gosatomnadzor, within the established timeframe, implements activities within its competence. The implementation of the National Plan as a whole is monitored at the Government level.

The loading of nuclear fuel into the reactor of the first power unit of the BelNPP began on August 7. In total, 163 fuel assemblies had to be loaded into the reactor, followed by the necessary tests. The fuel was produced at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant.

From 17 to 19 August this year, experts from the Moscow Center of the World Association of Organizations that Operate Nuclear Power Plants conducted a pre-start peer review of the first power unit of the BelNPP. The specialists noted significant progress in organizing the activities of the Belarusian NPP to ensure and control the proper condition of equipment and systems important to safety, as well as improvements in all proven areas of production activity.

The commissioning of the second power unit of the Belarusian NPP is envisaged in 2022.

Interesting: Today 10 countries, including Belarus, are working on programs for the development of nuclear power. There are 439 nuclear power plants in the world in 30 countries.

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