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Opinions & Interviews

27 Sep 2016

Belarus stresses paramount importance of nuclear safety

Belarus stresses paramount importance of nuclear safety

VIENNA, 27 September (BelTA) – Belarus emphasizes the absolute priority of ensuring nuclear safety, Belarusian Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk said at the plenary meeting of the 60th regular session of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna, BelTA has learned.

“The IAEA rightfully occupies the leading position in coordinating the international efforts in this area. We believe that although the 2011 IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety has already been implemented, most of the fundamental previsions of the document are long-term in their nature, and should remain important reference points in this field,” Mikhail Mikhadyuk noted.

Belarus supports the efforts of the IAEA to devise effective services and tools, such as peer reviews and assessment missions, to address a wide range of issues related to nuclear and radiation safety. The country welcomes the agency’s activities aimed to promote the development of the national nuclear safety infrastructures of the ‘newcomer’ countries and enhance the performance of their regulatory bodies. In 2015, Belarus used a range of services of the IAEA, including workshops, educational events and expert visits. “Next week, Belarus will host a mission of the IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS). Jointly with the IAEA, we are gearing up for a Site and External Events Design (SEED) mission,” Mikhail Mikhadyuk said. Belarus has already submitted applications to the IAEA Secretariat for hosting an emergency preparedness and response evaluation mission, and also a preliminary mission to monitor the operational safety of the Belarusian plant in 2017 and 2018.

Mikhail Mikhadyuk stressed that apart from the IAEA, Belarus also cooperates in nuclear safety with all parties concerned. For example, the country is an active participant of the Regulatory Cooperation Forum. Besides, the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) holds observer status in the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association and in the forum for cooperation of state regulatory bodies of countries that operate VVER-type power-generating units. Apart from that, the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP) is a member of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO). The BelNPP is currently undergoing stress tests. The first stage of the tests will be completed by year-end 2016.

Belarus greatly appreciates IAEA’s contribution to the international cooperation on Chernobyl. For many years, the agency has been providing all kinds of assistance to Belarus, from studies of the effects of the Chernobyl accident to the development of recommendations for the radiation protection of people, rehabilitation of the affected areas, and implementation of specific projects. Today, Belarus is promoting the initiative titled “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the Chernobyl affected regions through the partnership, innovation and investments”.

On behalf of the Belarusian government, Mikhail Mikhadyuk praised IAEA’s activities over the past year and spoke in favor of the adoption of the annual report of the agency.

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