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27 Feb 2017

Belarus to defend report on fulfilling Convention on Nuclear Safety in March-April

MINSK, 27 February (BelTA) – Belarus will defend the national report on fulfilling the Convention on Nuclear Safety in the International Atomic Energy Agency, representatives of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry told BelTA.

Another cycle of presentations of national reports on fulfilling the Convention on Nuclear Safety is nearing its end. A conference of the parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety will take place in the IAEA HQ on 27 March – 7 April. The national reports will be presented and defended then. Belarus’ seventh 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 in accordance with the IAEA procedures. Each question received a substantial answer.

The number of questions and comments other countries made with regard to Belarus’ national report was three times as large as the number of questions and comments about the previous report (69 questions and comments three years before). Only reports of countries with a well-developed nuclear energy industry invoked a comparable number of questions and comments. For instance, Russia’s report was followed by 242 questions, Ukraine’s — 196 questions, and Canada’s — 164 questions.

Most of the questions were related to the legislative and regulatory framework, the regulating agency, and safety as a priority. Questions were asked about the improvement of the legal base on nuclear and radiation safety, changes in the legal base, the way the changes implement modern international recommendations. Questions were also asked about licensing procedures and the evaluation of safety parameters by experts, including within the framework of one of the principles of the 2015 Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety — the need to periodically review safety parameters. Questions were also asked about resources and competences of all the parties involved in implementing the nuclear energy program, including inspectors. Questions were also asked about the evaluation missions that visit Belarus, primarily IAEA-sponsored ones, including results of past missions and plans to invite new ones. Questions were also asked about the fulfillment of quality management programs and the development of safety culture in all the agencies participating in the implementation of the nuclear energy program.

The Convention on Nuclear Safety was adopted on 17 June 1994. The document is designed to secure and maintain a high level of nuclear safety all over the world by beefing up national measures and international cooperation, by creating and supporting effective safeguards at nuclear installations to protect from potential radioactive threats. The document is meant to ensure the protection of individuals and the society as a whole, the environment from the harmful impact of ionizing radiation. It is designed to prevent emergencies with radioactive consequences and alleviate consequences of such emergencies if they happen.

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. Belarus’ seventh national report was prepared in August 2016. It describes how the country honored its commitments in 2013-2016 taking into account the implementation of the state decision on building the country’s first nuclear power plant and how government agencies and other parties worked to fulfill the decision.

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