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11 Oct 2017

Belarus invites foreign observers to attend radiation accident response exercise

MINSK, 11 October (BelTA) – Belarus has invited foreign observers to attend the command staff exercise on responding to radiation accidents, which will take place on 18-19 October, BelTA learned from Belarusian Deputy Emergencies Minister Alexander Khudoleyev on 11 October.

Observers from neighboring countries and CSTO member states have been invited to attend as well as diplomats of the foreign embassies in Belarus. “We are open to a constructive dialogue,” noted the official.

Assets and units of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry will be employed for the exercise, a total of 274 personnel and 24 vehicles. The Belarusian Defense Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Energy Ministry, and the Healthcare Ministry will take an active part in the exercise. In line with the scenario of the exercise Belarusian fire fighters will have to extinguish a fire at a transformer substation in a radiation polluted area, in reservoirs that store light oil products and hazardous chemicals. Belarusian rescue workers will also have to deal with consequences of a radiation accident at a railway and with forest fires in radiation-polluted areas. Apart from that, the state system for warning and dealing with emergencies, the civil defense system will be tested in the course of top-priority emergency response actions.

The external contingence plan of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will be adjusted and polished as a result of the exercise.

BelTA reported earlier that practical actions of the command staff exercise on responding to radiation accidents will take place in over 20 districts and at two border checkpoints all over Belarus. The active phase of the exercise is supposed to take place in Ostrovets District, Grodno Oblast on 19 October.

Safety is a high priority for Belarus as the country is implementing its first nuclear energy program. In line with international recommendations countries, which are about to commission major nuclear energy installations, have to arrange a series of exercises to practice responding to possible accidents. Such exercises are designed to check the readiness of the rapid response system, which also is important for working out response plans for events outside the nuclear power plant site. By arranging the exercise, Belarus acts in strict compliance with recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and believes that safety is an overriding priority in implementing the national nuclear energy program.

 

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