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15 Jun 2018

European conclusions on stress tests of Belarusian nuclear power plant presented

MINSK, 15 June (BelTA) – The peer review board established by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) to check results of the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant presented conclusions of European experts during a visit to Belarus on 12-14 June, representatives of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) told BelTA.

While in Belarus the ENSREG peer review board led by Marta Ziakova, Chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority of the Slovak Republic (NRA SR), presented results achieved by European experts as they prepared the peer review report. The results were discussed with Gosatomnadzor, key Belarusian experts, representatives of the state enterprise Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant, Russian designers, the Energy Ministry, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus.

In line with the peer review schedule the final report is supposed to be published on the ENSREG website in early July 2018.

Earlier the ENSREG set up a team of experts representing nuclear safety regulatory bodies from Austria, Bulgaria, the UK, Hungary, Germany, France, Finland, Slovakia, Sweden, Greece, Slovenia, Ukraine, Spain, and Lithuania. The team studied the Belarusian report on the stress tests and received additional information remotely in the form of answers to questions. The team also acquired more information as it visited Belarus and the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in March 2018.

During the latest visit to Belarus the peer review board presented the draft report and the conclusions the European experts had arrived at after studying information about the resilience of the Belarusian nuclear power plant to unfavorable external natural factors. The peer review board delegation visited the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant on 13 June.

Mark Foy, a representative of the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), led the peer review team. While presenting the peer review results, he noted that the Belarusian national report on the stress tests matched ENSREG requirements. He also mentioned the considerable volume of supplementary information promptly submitted by Belarus in addition to the national report. Belarus’ openness in cooperation with the experts was mentioned as well.

Marta Ziakova, head of the peer review board, said she believes that the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant and measures to improve safety parameters in the wake of the stress tests represent a vivid demonstration of the evolutionary principle in safety arrangements, according to which measures are taken to constantly improve safety parameters.

Gosatomnadzor Head Olga Lugovskaya mentioned practical benefits of the stress tests and the peer review process. Measures developed in the wake of the stress tests results are already being implemented. European recommendations and Belarusian conclusions presented in the national report on the stress tests will be used as the basis for the development and consequent implementation of the national plan on enhancing the safety of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant was submitted to the stress tests in 2016 in line with European methods in accordance with the commitments Belarus had voluntarily undertaken. The hypothetical impact of a number of natural factors on the power plant and its units was evaluated as part of the process. The factors included earthquakes, floods, extreme weather phenomena and their combinations as well as consequences of the loss of offsite power and the loss of the heat transfer agent (water). Consequences of such events were evaluated bearing in mind the designed parameters of the nuclear power plant and its safeguards. The main conclusions of the national report stipulate that the safeguards of the Belarusian nuclear power plant have been developed bearing in mind the thoroughly examined external events; the buildings, structures, and equipment of the Belarusian nuclear power plant have been designed in line with the effective legislation; safety margins are available.

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