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Opinions & Interviews

10 Apr 2018

Opinion: BelNPP project criticized mainly by Lithuanian politicians, not specialists

Opinion: BelNPP project criticized mainly by Lithuanian politicians, not specialists

MINSK, 10 April (BelTA) – The Belarusian nuclear power plant construction project is criticized mainly by Lithuanian politicians, not specialists, Belarus’ Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk said in an interview to the Lithuanian TV and radio broadcasting company LRT, BelTA has learned.

“Unfortunately, the Belarusian nuclear power plant is criticized mainly by Lithuanian politicians and not by specialists,” noted Mikhail Mikhadyuk.

According to the deputy minister, Belarus took a very responsible approach to choosing the design of the future nuclear power plant. “Before choosing the design of the station, we studied the proposals of five world nuclear power leaders. We decided at once that it should be the most modern project of the VVER three-plus generation unit, as it is a highly proven, reliable and economical technology,” he said.

All the neighboring countries were notified of Belarus' intention to build a nuclear power plant. They were sent an EIA report for study. Public hearings were also held, including in Vilnius.

Belarus welcomed a number of IAEA assessment missions, has undertaken obligations to conduct necessary stress tests. European experts conduct a partnership review of their results.

The deputy minister stated that the organization of construction and the development of infrastructure were highly praised by the IAEA's Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission. Later, at the IAEA special seminar, Belarus’ experience was recommended for use to other countries. “We understand the responsibility. Therefore we do not allow any slackness, deviations from the quality standards. Equipment for the nuclear power plant undergoes control at the first stage of its production at plants, which is followed by a severe in-process control at the site and acceptance of the work. The organizations, which are not ready and could not learn to work in such conditions, are removed from the construction site,” the deputy minister said.

When asked about the export of the BelNPP electricity, Mikhail Mikhadyuk emphasized that the nuclear power plant is built primarily to make the Belarusian economy more competitive. “It is up to Lithuania to buy or not buy Belarusian electricity. However, if there is cheaper electricity nearby and there is no need to develop new infrastructure, then, I think, deciding against it is only your political decision,” he said.

“Of course, we would like to be friends so that our energy systems could work together, as our specialists have successfully cooperated so far. Only experts understand what it means to turn off Lithuania from the energy system of the former Soviet Union. Only specialists understand what the transition to the European Union will cost Lithuania. It will cost a lot of money, and it be a burden on you, on every household and on the whole economy of Lithuania. Yet, this will be your choice,” the deputy minister said.

Yet, political decisions prevail in Lithuania, but they will entail large expenditures for the energy system, he stated.

Mikhail Mikhadyuk stressed that Belarus undertakes every measure to ensure the safety of the station in Ostrovets. “The safety of the nuclear power plant is our top priority,” he said.

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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