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19 Apr 2017

Belarus confirms observance of Nuclear Safety Convention on IAEA

MINSK, 19 April (BelTA) – The fact that Belarus observes the Convention on Nuclear Safety has been confirmed on the IAEA platform, BelTA learned from Belarusian First Deputy Emergencies Minister Vasily Stepanenko on 19 April.

The report on how Belarus observes the convention was presented during the Seventh Review Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety in the IAEA HQ on 31 March. After hearing the Belarusian national report, the parties concluded that Belarus honors its commitments within the framework of the convention. Apart from that, four areas with good progress were mentioned. Other countries can borrow these practices from Belarus. These areas are the management of rapid growth by the regulating agency, the development of competences of the regulating agency’s specialists, strong mechanisms for coordinating the work relating to the advancement of the nuclear program, and the development of large-scale international cooperation.

After the discussion five challenges were formulated for Belarus. The country will have to put efforts into meeting these challenges in the short term and the medium term. “It is a normal practice when challenges and proposals are formulated for every country,” explained the official.

The challenges include completion of the construction and commissioning of the new reactors while seeing to the first principle of the Vienna statement (preventing radioactive substances from leaving the nuclear power plant site); the development of the system of the regulating agency’s technical support in the area of nuclear and radiation safety; continued efforts to establish friendly cooperation with Lithuania; preparation and hosting of all the planned IAEA missions relating to the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant on a tight schedule, assimilation of the missions’ recommendations and proposals; proper handling of the application for the license to operate the nuclear power plant by the regulating agency.

“These challenges are not new for us. In October 2016 the IAEA’s Regulatory Review Service mission concluded that these challenges had been formulated by the regulating agency itself. A number of measures have been worked out in Belarus to respond to these challenges,” said Vasily Stepanenko.

Belarus ratified the Convention on Nuclear Safety in 1998. In line with the established procedure participating countries have to prepare national reports on fulfilling the convention every three years.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is the only facility in the country that is subject to the Convention on Nuclear Safety. Respectively, Belarus’ seventh national report explained what was done in the last three years to ensure safety during the construction and preparations for operating the nuclear power plant. As an option the report presented information about scientific nuclear plants of the Belarusian energy and nuclear research institute Sosny. Long before the review meeting Belarus’ report met increased interest, which was on par with the interest in reports of countries with a well-developed nuclear energy industry. The report met 214 questions, including 73 ones submitted by Lithuania.

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