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Belarus to prepare national action plan based on peer review of nuclear power plant stress tests

Society 10.07.2018 | 13:34
Briefing in BelTA's press center on results of the peer review of the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant
Briefing in BelTA's press center on results of the peer review of the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant

MINSK, 10 July (BelTA) – Belarus will prepare a national action plan to bolster the safety of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. The action plan will take into account recommendations given as a result of the peer review of the nuclear power plant's stress tests, BelTA learned from Olga Lugovskaya, Head of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor), on 10 July.

Olga Lugovskaya said: “I think we will put together the action plan within three months. It should be understood that it is also a matter of consultations with the [state enterprise] Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant. The recommendations can be implemented in many ways.”

The Gosatomnadzor head reminded that the agency had previously worked out the roadmap to get ready for and form the action plan. The roadmap specifies how internal recommendations in the wake of the stress tests will be fulfilled and how results of the peer review will be taken into account.

As far as the proposals resulting from the peer review are concerned, many of them suggest additional analytical work. For instance, Gosatomnadzor is advised to look into results of the probability risk assessment (RSA for short) and make sure the relevant measures are taken to improve safety parameters. Olga Lugovskaya pointed out that as part of the Belarusian nuclear power plant's licensing process the probability risk assessment is already a mandatory document. Gosatomnadzor has already received it.

The national report resulting from the stress tests stipulates some safety-enhancing recommendations for the enterprise in charge of operating the Belarusian nuclear power plant. In their report European partners also suggest taking into account these recommendations.

“Recommendations represent an implicit result of any peer review. The peer review procedure is organized in order to receive recommendations and ensure the unconditional permanent enhancement of the safety of our power plant,” added Olga Lugovskaya.

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 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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