MINSK, 6 March (BelTA) – Radiation safety and operational reliability of the Belarusian nuclear power plant is ‘a priority of priorities', Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a meeting to discuss the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP), BelTA has learned.
“The construction of Belarus' first nuclear power plant is one of the biggest and most technologically advanced projects that we have carried out together with the Russians. A lot has already been done to implement this project,” the head of state said. In particular, the first power unit has been put into operation and it functions steadily, producing electricity for the power grid. According to the president, the first unit has already generated more than 12.5 billion kWh since it went online, which allowed replacing over 3 billion cubic meters of gas and saving more than $400 million for the country. “The result is not bad for a start,” the Belarusian leader noted.
As for the second power unit, the physical start-up phase is underway, the unit is to be connected to the grid in April 2023, Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
“I have repeatedly emphasized that radiation safety and operational reliability of the nuclear power plant is a priority of priorities,” the head of state said. “We discussed these matters thoroughly when we were weighing up whether we should go for this project, we took into account the world experience. The highest technologies are used here. This is the asset of our people. Therefore, all aspects of the construction and operation of the nuclear power plant require special attention and a balanced approach,” he added.
Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that certain destructive groups opposed the construction of the nuclear power plant, especially during the 2020 election campaign. “You remember that all the alternative candidates that later fled the country promised to shut down the nuclear power plant if they came to power, although billions had already been invested in its construction. Our competitors pushed them to such rhetoric, first of all, unfortunately, our closest neighbors Poland and Lithuania. So what are we having today? Poland plans to build two nuclear power plants, or maybe three. Lithuania also announced its intention to build its own nuclear power plant. Now think about it: what would have happened if we, having been carried away by political games, had stopped the construction or closed the nuclear power plant, or they had come to power and shut down this nuclear plant, where about $5 billion had already been invested? That's their true colors,” the president said.
The president urged to ensure efficient operation of the entire BelNPP. He added that the nuclear power plant should reach full capacity as soon as possible. However, this should not be achieved at the expense of the construction quality, Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized. “I know that Russians sometimes complain that we put forward excessive safety and security demands. But they must understand that we are the country that was affected by the Chernobyl disaster,” he explained. “Therefore, safety is a number one issue, and we will demand the highest level of safety and absolute compliance with construction standards,” the president noted.
In this regard, the head of state addressed a number of important questions to the participants of the meeting: how safety is ensured, whether all norms and regulations are observed during the construction and operation of the BelNPP. The president also asked when the second power unit of the Belarusian NPP is scheduled to go online and once again warned against compromising the quality of construction. “We have not hushed up anything and are not going to hide that there were certain shortcomings in the construction of the nuclear power plant, but these issues were very quickly resolved by Belarusian and Russian construction workers. The delay is due to our determination to stick to very high safety standards. It is better to commission the plant half a year or a year later rather than under-fulfill something,” the Belarusian leader said.
“What measures are taken to speed up the implementation of this project? After all, the foundation (reactor, framework) has already been put in place and fine-tuned. We still need to do some 1.5-2% of the work. When will we fully accomplish the project and leave this site? I am absolutely open to all your proposals. If my assistance is need, I am ready to take the necessary decisions right away,” the head of state said.