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25 July 2022, 13:56

Nuclear safety bill in the works in Belarus

File photo
File photo

Deputies of the House of Representatives continue to work on the bill "On the regulation of nuclear safety”. It is being prepared for the second reading. Deputy Chairman of the Standing Commission on Industry, Fuel and Energy Complex, Transport and Communications of the House of Representatives Vasily Panasyuk told BelTA about the innovations of the document.

"The law ‘On the use of atomic energy' of 30 July 2008 is currently in force in our country. It served as a solid legislative basis for one of the most ambitious projects in the modern history of Belarus - the construction of the first Belarusian nuclear power plant. With the commissioning of the first power unit of the Belarusian NPP, Belarus has officially become a country operating a nuclear power plant. But time does not stand still. Science is moving forward in the field of nuclear energy, new technological and organizational approaches are emerging, and the pace and density of international cooperation are increasing. Given these and other factors we can say that time has come for a new law," Vasily Panasyuk said. “As can be seen from the name of the project, its primary goal is to strengthen and maintain the proper level of nuclear and radiation safety. This is a top priority for everyone: scientists, power engineers, builders and, of course, for us, legislators."

Thus, the bill envisages comprehensive regulation of safety issues at all stages of the life cycle of nuclear facilities: from choosing a location for a nuclear facility to its decommissioning or shutdown, as well as distribution and strengthening of responsibility of central government agencies involved in nuclear safety management and regulation, the fulfillment of international nuclear and radiation safety commitments by the Republic of Belarus.

“I would like to note separately that the bill establishes the priority of safety over the economic (commercial) aspect of the nuclear energy use. In other words, the priority target is to protect life, health, rights and legitimate interests of citizens, environment, to promote the international image of Belarus as a country that sticks to modern international safety requirements. Many other nuclear safety principles recommended by the IAEA are laid down in this document. This pertains to prompt provision of complete and reliable information, effective separation of regulatory functions from functions related to the nuclear energy use, independent decision-making and actions by nuclear safety regulators, a ban on the production of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices, and a lot of other things,” the MP said.

To secure harmonization with modern international norms, the bill includes provisions regulating the responsibility of the licensee (operating organization) for ensuring safety in the use of atomic energy.

“In order to make grounded decisions on nuclear and radiation safety issues, the document envisages a system of scientific and technical support of regulatory activities in the area. It includes scientific and technical support organizations determined by the government, the National Commission under the Council of Ministers, and experts. The draft law was developed by the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor), assisted by the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the Energy Ministry, and other governmental agencies and organizations. When finalizing the document in the Parliament, we also involve the most competent specialists, strictly following the no-harm rule,” Vasily Panasyuk added.

“Considering the importance and relevance of the bill, our standing committee together with other stakeholders will do everything possible to ensure that this autumn the country have such a legal act, which will be well received by both the industry community and our voters,” said the MP.

BelTA.

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