Low-power physical experiments at first unit of Belarusian nuclear power plant authorized
MINSK, 8 October (BelTA) – The state enterprise Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant has been granted permission to carry out low-power physical experiments at the first unit of the nuclear power plant, the press service of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) told BelTA.
The source said that on 8 October the Board of the Emergencies Ministry decided in favor of expanding the license of the state enterprise Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant to carry out activities in the area of usage of nuclear energy and sources of ionizing radiation. The expansion of the license allows the enterprise to take the reactor to minimum controllable power and carry out low-power physical experiments.
Apart from that, the state enterprise Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant has been granted the right to do operations relating to the handling of radioactive waste that the operation of the nuclear power plant will generate.
The ministry’s board’s decision relies on Gosatomnadzor’s conclusion. Gosatomnadzor reviewed results of the expert evaluation of safety substantiation documents and checked the readiness of the Belarusian nuclear power plant to perform the declared activities.
The first loading of fuel into the reactor core, trials on a subcritical reactor, physical experiments while the reactor is at minimum controllable power, reactor power startup, and pilot operation are allowed after the readiness of the operating company for the relevant steps of the commissioning process is checked and the relevant permits (licenses) are granted.
Once all these steps are over, the license to operate the first unit will be granted. The license is to be granted before the government commission in charge of accepting the facility for operation starts working.
Gosatomnadzor pointed out that public hearings will be arranged before the license to operate the first unit is granted. The general public will be informed about progress and results of the expert evaluation of safety and the evaluation of the operating company’s conformance with requirements of the license.
The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast using the Russian design AES-2006 featuring two VVER-1200 reactors with the total output capacity of 2,400MW. The Russian state nuclear industry corporation Rosatom is the general contractor.