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10 Jul 2018

Results of Belarusian nuclear power plant stress tests to influence operating license release

MINSK, 10 July (BelTA) – Results of the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will be taken into account when the license to operate the nuclear power plant has to be issued, BelTA learned from Yulianna Kryuk, Head of the Department for Scientific and Technical Support for Regulatory Activities of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor), on 10 July.

According to the source, the company in charge of running the nuclear power plant contacted Gosatomnadzor in October 2017 in order to obtain the operating license. Experts are now evaluating the safety justification documents. Conclusions and recommendations resulting from the stress tests will help the experts make the right decision, noted Yulianna Kryuk. Recommendations arising from results of the stress tests have been included into the technical specifications for the expert evaluation of the safety justification documents as part of the nuclear power plant operating license release process.

As a result of the peer review of the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant the European experts authorized by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) came up with recommendations and singled out various good practices. As strong points the experts mentioned passive safeguards and four levels of defense in depth. The availability of a full-scale simulator in the education and training center of the Belarusian nuclear power plant was welcomed. The simulator is used to train the nuclear power plant personnel. It can be used to practice responses to major emergencies. The experts also mentioned the good training levels of the dedicated fire-fighting unit, which stands by to respond to any unforeseen emergencies. Positive interaction with the expert community, scientific and research organizations, and design institutions was also mentioned.

In 2016 Belarus voluntarily stress tested its nuclear power plant taking into account specifications of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG). The national report on results of the stress tests was forwarded to the European Commission and made available to the general public online in 2017. The main conclusion is the Belarusian nuclear power plant is resilient to events of the kind that befell the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011.

A group of 17 experts representing nuclear and radiation safety regulatory agencies visited Belarus in March 2018 upon ENSREG’s authorization as part of the peer review process. The group also included representatives of the European Commission. Representatives of the IAEA, Russia, and Iran acted as observers. The peer review report is, on the whole, positive. It underscores various good practices and also offers future potential improvements, need for which was identified during a check conducted in Belarus as part of the continuous safety enhancement effort.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built using the Russian standard Generation III+ design AES-2006 near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast. The first power-generating unit is scheduled for commissioning in 2019, with the second one to go online in 2020.

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