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EU experts to visit Belarus on 12-16 March for peer review of nuclear power plant stress tests

Society 06.03.2018 | 19:25
Belarusian nuclear power plant. An archive photo
Belarusian nuclear power plant. An archive photo

MINSK, 6 March (BelTA) – European experts will visit Belarus on 12-16 March for a peer review of results of stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, BelTA learned from the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor).

A group of experts has been authorized by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) to review Belarus' national report on revaluating the safety (stress tests) of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. The delegation of 17 experts will stay in Belarus on 12-16 March. They will be led by Mark Foy, a representative of the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

Representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Russia, and Iran will participate in the capacity of observers.

While in Belarus the experts will discuss with Belarusian specialists the information the national report contains. They will also visit the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant near Ostrovets and will prepare a preliminary report on the peer review.

The final report is supposed to be presented in Minsk in June 2018 during the visit of representatives of the peer review council.

According to the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the national report on stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant was open to public consultations for two months (from 13 November 2017 through 13 January 2018). Questions, including those submitted by European regulating agencies, non-governmental ecological organizations, and public associations, were sent by ENSREG to Gosatomnadzor in early February 2018 so that the Belarusian agency could give answers to them. Materials of the public consultations will be published by the ENSREG website in the form of questions and responses.

Belarus acceded to the joint declaration of the European Union and neighboring countries on comprehensive risk and safety assessments of nuclear plants (stress tests) in June 2011. Belarus undertook political commitments to stress test the nuclear power plant under construction using ENSREG specifications and to arrange a peer review of the results in order to build up trust in them.

Stress tests represent a one-time unscheduled evaluation of safety parameters of a nuclear power plant with a view to measuring the power plant's resilience to extreme external natural phenomena and their combinations: earthquakes, floods, extreme weather conditions, and other factors.

In 2016 the operating company Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant performed a self-evaluation of risks and safety parameters. The results were submitted for consideration of the regulatory body — Gosatomnadzor. A national report on stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant was prepared using the operating company's report as its core. The report was translated into English and forwarded to the European Commission in late October 2017 for a peer review in accordance with the procedure the sides had agreed.

The national report in Russian is available on the Gosatomnadzor website. A copy of the report in English is available on the ENSREG website.

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