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Stress tests confirm reliability of Belarusian nuclear power plant

Society 08.11.2017 | 14:15

MINSK, 8 November (BelTA) – The Belarusian nuclear power plant is resilient to the events similar to those, which occurred at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, BelTA learned from Head of the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) Olga Lugovskaya on 8 November.

The stress tests represent a one-time scheduled examination of the nuclear power plant's resilience to extreme external impacts such as earthquakes, floods, and extreme weather phenomena. The ability of the nuclear power plant to survive in the face of events, which are hypothetically possible in Belarus, has been assessed. The events included strong winds and torrential rains, squalls, tornados, large hail, dust storms, strong blizzards, ice accumulation, fog, droughts, and combinations of these phenomena.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is resilient to the initial events, which occurred at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, noted Olga Lugovskaya.

As a result of the stress tests conclusions have been made. The conclusions say that safeguards of the Belarusian nuclear power plant have been designed fully taking into account external events, that buildings, structures, and equipment of the nuclear power plant have been designed in line with the effective legislation, that safety margins have been provided. “There is a certain safety reserve on top of the mandatory requirements specified by the regulatory documents,” explained Olga Lugovskaya. “You can never have too much safety. Our job was to come up with measures to bolster safety, to increase safety margins.” The relevant plan to bolster the Belarusian nuclear power plant's safety is in development, specified Olga Lugovskaya.

Belarus stress-tested its nuclear power plant using European methods in 2016. As part of the stress testing process consequences of natural phenomena were forecasted such as earthquakes, floods, extreme weather phenomena and their combinations, consequences of the loss of external power and the loss of the heat transfer agent (water). The ability of the technical solutions, which are supposed to kick in after the initial safeguards fail due to these phenomena, to protect the population and environment from radiation was evaluated.

As part of the stress test procedure the Belarusian nuclear power plant auto-evaluated its safety and submitted the report to Gosatomnadzor in March 2017. The agency had the report evaluated by experts of the united energy and nuclear research institute Sosny of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. Results of the expert evaluation were used as the foundation for preparing the national report on the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

The Belarus government set up an interagency working group to prepare the national report. The group included representatives of the Emergencies Ministry, the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry, the Healthcare Ministry, the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, and the company in charge of operating the Belarusian nuclear power plant. European experts provided guidance to this work as part of the European Commission's international technical aid project.

All the nuclear power plants in the world are subjected to stress tests after the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

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