MINSK, 20 September (BelTA) – Belarus has presented its practices used to ensure the public acceptance of nuclear power plant construction in the International Atomic Energy Agency. A roundtable session “Cooperation with vendors as a prerequisite to success for newcomers” took place in the IAEA HQ in Vienna where the 62nd IAEA General Conference is taking place on 17-21 September, BelTA has learned.
Participants of the meeting discussed the factors contributing to the successful implementation of nuclear energy projects in novice countries and the importance of information support for nuclear projects at every stage.
The Belarusian delegation was led by Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk. Representatives of the IAEA and the Russian state nuclear industry corporation Rosatom took part in the event. Rosatom is Belarus' partner in building the country's first nuclear power plant.
Mikhail Mikhadyuk drew attention to the role of international cooperation in the work on the future nuclear power plant. “The IAEA Technical Cooperation Program has helped Belarus a lot in accomplishing social and economic development tasks,” stressed the official. He also mentioned comprehensive constructive cooperation with the vendor country – the Russian Federation.
According to Mikhail Mikhadyuk, Belarus' experience of building the nuclear power plant has been recommended by the IAEA many times as an example other novice countries should follow, including the experience of shaping the public acceptance of nuclear energy.
Alexander Merten, President of Rusatom International Network, stressed the importance of the vendor and the customer working together in this direction.
Alexander Merten said: “Public acceptance is a key aspect of the implementation of projects of national importance such as the construction of a nuclear power plant. Rosatom has accumulated a lot of experience working with the general public in Russia and in the countries where nuclear power plants are being built using Russian designs. At present Rosatom's portfolio contains 36 nuclear reactors at various stages of implementation in 12 countries. Our job is to get the society to understand that without nuclear energy it is impossible to get access to a cheap and steady source of electricity and resolve global environmental problems. We effectively work in Russia and are ready to share our competences with foreign partners in the course of implementation of nuclear projects.”
At present more than half of Belarus' population supports the development of nuclear energy in the country. The figure was slightly above 25% in 2005. “It is a good figure for a novice country because a high number of nuclear energy supporters – about 60-70% -- is registered in countries with a long and successful record of accident-free operation of nuclear reactors. Support for the project in the town of Ostrovets where the nuclear power plant is being built goes as high as 70%. Apart from that, over 70% of the businessmen and farmers in the country support the construction of the nuclear power plant. Without a doubt it means they understand the importance of a competitive and steady source of electricity for the economy. Apart from that, the launch of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will allow avoiding the release of about 7-10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum into the atmosphere and will substitute roughly 5 billion m3 of natural gas,” noted representatives of Rosatom Eastern Europe, a daughter enterprise of Rosatom.
The 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency is taking place in Vienna on 17-21 September. During the conference high-ranking officials and representatives of 170 IAEA member states are expected to discuss results of last year's work, discuss the development of nuclear energy industry and future priorities, and touch upon nuclear safety and safeguards within the framework of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty.More about Society