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15 April 2019, 13:20

Russia expected to recycle spent nuclear fuel of Belarusian nuclear power plant

Mikhail Mikhadyuk. An archive photo
Mikhail Mikhadyuk. An archive photo

SOCHI, 15 April (BelTA) – The scenario for managing spent nuclear fuel of the Belarusian nuclear power plant provides for getting the fuel processed in Russia, BelTA learned from Belarusian Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk during the Atomexpo forum in Sochi on 15 April.

The official said: “The intergovernmental agreement on building the nuclear power plant specified virtually everything: we are to return spent nuclear fuel to Russia for processing. Let's launch the nuclear power plant and follow the intergovernmental agreement. We have a time corridor of about ten years. This is why specific conditions – where, when, how long, and what should be taken – will be stipulated and followed. But we've already determined the fundamental things.”

Three scenarios for managing spent nuclear fuel were under consideration before. Two of them provide for getting the fuel processed in Russia (taking into account the lengthy storage of spent nuclear fuel in Russia or in Belarus with the resulting waste buried in Belarus). One scenario provides for storing waste in Belarus without sending it to Russia.

“When we were putting together the strategy, we considered three different options for handling the spent nuclear fuel. We've considered the options and decided in favor of storing the waste in Belarus, accumulating it in the cooling pond for ten years or possibly slightly less than that. Once we've accumulated a certain amount, we will ship it for processing. And we get back the processed waste in a number of years as is the world practice,” the Belarusian deputy energy minister explained.

BelTA reported earlier that Belarus intends to sign the intergovernmental agreement with Russia on the processing of spent nuclear fuel of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in 2020 at the latest. Sending the waste to Russia is stipulated by the Belarusian-Russian intergovernmental agreement on building the nuclear power plant in Belarus. The document stipulates that fuel bought from Russian companies is supposed to be returned to Russia for processing on terms to be determined by the sides in a separate intergovernmental agreement.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast using a Russian design featuring two VVER-1200 reactors with the total output capacity of 2,400MW. The first power-generating unit is scheduled for commissioning in 2019, with the second one to go online in 2020.

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