MINSK, 30 August (BelTA) - Belarus is studying the feasibility of building additional units at the Belarusian nuclear power plant, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said as he met with Director General of the Russian state nuclear industry corporation Rosatom Alexey Likhachev in Minsk on 30 August, BelTA has learned.
"We decided to meet to discuss the progress in our most important project in the field of nuclear energy [the Belarusian nuclear power plant]. In the light of the latest developments, this project has acquired particular relevance. Its speedy implementation is extremely important for the energy and economic security of Belarus," Roman Golovchenko said.
According to him, in accordance with the instructions of the president, an ad-hoc group has been set up to consider the expediency (primarily economic) of building additional units. “These are long-term plans. Today it is important to successfully complete the current project. It is being closely watched by our neighbors and the international nuclear community," the head of government added.
The prime minister recalled that the first power unit was commissioned last year. The construction of the second power unit is on the home stretch. "It is important to complete its construction in a short time, observing safety requirements to ensure the reliability of the plant for its entire service life. Here we are working very constructively together. If any questions remain, we are ready to consider them today," he said.
According to Roman Golovchenko, scheduled preventive maintenance of the first unit has been carried out this year. “It was carried out jointly by specialized organizations of Russia and Belarus. For us it is a very good experience of conducting maintenance and assimilating new technologies. Skills of Belarusian specialists were highly appreciated by our Russian counterparts,” he stressed.
The prime minister thanked Rosatom for the assistance and support in solving the issues of nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management in Belarus. “We still have a lot of work to do regarding the construction of a special storage facility for spent fuel. In general, we are finalizing an intergovernmental agreement on transportation of nuclear materials. It is being developed as part of the roadmap for the Union State's nuclear power program. The agreement is already undergoing domestic procedures. We are also moving towards further unification of legislation in nuclear energy. This will help us solve tasks faster,” the head of government stressed.
“Our cooperation is not limited to the construction and commissioning of Unit 2. Even if it is decided to wait with the additional units for a while, we still have a very large field for cooperation, including other areas of nuclear power use. Today we are ready to discuss all the issues on the agenda in a friendly and constructive manner,” Roman Golovchenko said.
In turn, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev said that the Belarusian plant project remains a priority for the state corporation. “This is the first VVER-1200 unit that we built abroad. Of course, we do not want to stop there,” he said.
According to him, keeping in mind the current global energy picture, against the background of the global energy crisis, and various kinds of illegal restrictions, almost all countries are approaching the nuclear energy development agenda in one way or another. Even those who were talking about the complete suspension of these projects are reconsidering their approaches. Those who have nuclear power as a significant part of their energy balance are making additional efforts to develop generating capacity.
"In this sense, we are not standing still. We are set to raise the share of nuclear generation from 20% to 25% in the country. This implies a large construction of nuclear power units until 2040,” the general director said. “The agenda is joint. I am sure that we will invite Belarusian companies that have proven themselves at Ostrovets to join projects in Russia."
Russia continues to be the world leader in nuclear technology, Alexey Likhachev added.