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23 September 2021, 16:29

Gosatomnadzor reaffirms dedication to constant improvement of Belarusian nuclear power plant safety

Photo courtesy of gosatomnadzor.mchs.gov.by
Photo courtesy of gosatomnadzor.mchs.gov.by

MINSK, 23 September (BelTA) – The Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) arranged a number of bilateral meetings as part of the 65th session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the IAEA HQ in Vienna, Austria, BelTA has learned.

Gosatomnadzor Head Olga Lugovskaya is participating in events of the IAEA General Conference as part of the Belarusian delegation. Meetings of the Belarusian delegation with IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, a number of officials of the IAEA's Safeguards Department and the Nuclear Safety and Security Department took place on 20 September and 21 September. The Belarusian side received the final version of the report compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency's International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) mission, which was co-organized by Gosatomnadzor in late June – early July 2021.

Peer review by ENSREG

Gosatomnadzor also held a number of bilateral meetings with delegations from Russia, Turkey, Hungary, and with representatives of the European Commission. The meeting with Deputy Director for Nuclear Energy of the European Commission Massimo Garribba focused on matters relating to a peer review by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) of the national action plan, which was put together as a result of stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. The sides spoke in positive terms about the visit of ENSREG experts to the Belarusian nuclear power plant site in early September 2021. Gosatomnadzor reaffirmed its commitment to the continuous improvement of the safety of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Gosatomnadzor views the national action plan as a living tool that can be updated if necessary. Following the spirit of transparency and openness, by the end of October 2021 Gosatomnadzor will prepare information about the current state of fulfillment of the measures the national action plan stipulates and will publish it on its own website.

The ENSREG peer review of the national action plan is in the final stage. ENSREG will discuss the peer review report prepared by European experts at the next plenary session, which is tentatively scheduled for November 2021. The document will be made available to the general public after that.

Cooperation with Rostechnadzor

A meeting with the delegation of the Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service of Russia (Rostechnadzor) also took place on the sidelines of the IAEA General Conference session. General matters concerning cooperation were discussed as well as concrete avenues of cooperation such as the development of regulatory acts and technical regulations in the area of nuclear energy uses, the organization of internships and visits of Gosatomnadzor employees and specialists of Gosatomnadzor's technical support organizations to Russia, the sharing of the best practices, long-term cooperation within the framework of fulfillment of the national action plan based on the stress tests of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, fire safety during the issuance of licenses to operate nuclear power plant units.

Gosatomnadzor explained that in 2013 the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry and Rostechnadzor signed a cooperation agreement. Joint events are organized in line with the agreement every year to foster the development of the Belarusian regulatory infrastructure of nuclear and radiation safety.

Cooperation with Hungary and Turkey

During a meeting with the delegation of the Hungarian Atomic Energy Authority (HAEA) the sides discussed the possibility of organizing a visit of HAEA representatives to Belarus including a trip to the Belarusian nuclear power plant site. Gosatomnadzor expressed interest in studying Hungarian experience of regulatory actions with regard to an operating nuclear power plant. The sides also exchanged information and opinions about preparations for the next plenary session of the Forum of the State Nuclear Safety Authorities of the Countries Operating WWER Type Reactors (WWER Regulators' Forum) and about the public hearings held in April 2021 before issuing the license to operate the first unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

The Belarusian delegation also met with the delegation of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NDK) of Turkey. The sides discussed preparations for and actual stress tests of nuclear power plants in accordance with the European Union procedure. The realization of nuclear energy programs in Belarus and Turkey was discussed. The Turkish side confirmed the readiness to welcome Gosatomnadzor representatives in Turkey on a reciprocal visit. An NDK delegation visited Belarus and the Belarusian nuclear power plant site in May 2021. In turn, Gosatomnadzor is getting ready to welcome NDK representatives, who will watch regulatory actions regarding the readiness of the second unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant for physical launch.

Gosatomnadzor representatives also discussed prospects of signing a memorandum on cooperation in the regulation of nuclear and radiation safety with a Nigeria representative. The sides confirmed mutual interest in it.

Discussions about nuclear safety and security

On 23 September Gosatomnadzor representatives employed videoconference technologies to participate in a conference of heads of regulatory bodies in the area of nuclear safety and nuclear security. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and his deputy Lydie Evrard took part in the conference. The conference focused on the role of the regulatory authority in requesting and providing international aid in emergencies, on the development of the national policy and the strategy on the safe handling of radioactive waste, the safety and preservation of radioactive sources, and other important matters a regulatory authority may have to deal with.

The 65th session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency will end on 24 September. Gosatomnadzor representatives will participate in the plenary session of the Regulatory Cooperation Forum (RCF). Gosatomnadzor Head Olga Lugovskaya is expected to make a presentation about Belarus' experience of developing the regulatory infrastructure of nuclear and radiation safety and the use of international cooperation tools for it.

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