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Environmental report on draft Belarusian spent nuclear fuel strategy up for public hearings

Society 14.12.2018 | 18:54
An archive photo
An archive photo

MINSK, 14 December (BelTA) – Public hearings of the environmental report on the strategic ecological evaluation of the draft strategy on handling spent nuclear fuel of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will take place in Belarus from 17 December 2018 through 15 January 2019, the press service of the Belarusian Energy Ministry told BelTA.

The strategy reflects key organizational aspects in implementing the national policy on handling spent nuclear fuel of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. The strategy is being drafted taking into account the international experience of managing spent nuclear fuel.

The report views Russia as the main supplier of services and technologies the management of the Belarusian nuclear power plant's spent fuel will require. Sending spent fuel to Russia for processing and getting back waste for storage conforms to the Belarusian-Russian intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in building the nuclear power plant. The waste will contain cesium and strontium radionuclides except for long-lived ones.

Three ways of handling spent nuclear fuel of the Belarusian nuclear power plant are under consideration. Two of them provide for sending irradiated fuel rod arrays to Russia for processing and storing the resultant high-active waste in Belarus. One way provides for storing irradiated fuel rod arrays in Belarus without sending them to Russia.

The nuclear power plant construction agreement provides for sending spent nuclear fuel of Russian origin back to Russia for processing on terms to be specified by a separate agreement. Thus, storing spent nuclear fuel in Belarus and burying it later in deep geological formations in the country runs contrary to the agreement.

All the steps the management of spent nuclear fuel requires will be taken at facilities or sites, which designs and locations have not been determined yet.

The document has been prepared by the energy and nuclear research institute Sosny in association with interested government agencies and organizations.

The environmental report in Russian is available on the official website of the Belarusian Energy Ministry, section Nuclear Energy, subsection Public Hearings.

The draft strategy on spent nuclear fuel management is supposed to be approved in Q1 2019.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built using a Russian design featuring VVER-1200 reactors near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast. The first power-generating unit is scheduled for commissioning in 2019, with the second one to go online in 2020.

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