The first shipment of nuclear fuel will be delivered by Russia to the Belarusian NPP (BNPP) in Ostravets in late 2017, BNPP spokesman Eduard Svirid told reporters on 13 April. BNPP's two VVER pressurised water reactors will have a total generating capacity of up to 2,400MWe. Unit 1 is expected to begin operation in November 2018 and unit 2 in July 2020. Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, is the prime contractor.

Each reactor will contain 163 fuel assemblies including a total of more than 17 million five-gram pellets. Svirid said the price of one pellet is around €15 ($16.9) and a complete set of fuel will total €255m plus the cost of manufacture and transportation. The plant's reactors will have to refuel once in three to four years. Three cycles of nuclear fuel will be delivered to BNPP at once. "After we launch the plant we will have enough fuel to keep it operating for 10 to 12 years," Svirid said.

Meanwhile, Belarus has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send a Site and External Events Design (SEED) mission to assess BNPP, Uladzimir Horyn, deputy chief engineer of the plant said. The SEED review service evaluates the construction site for a NPP and its susceptibility to various hazards, including natural and man-made ones. Last month the Implementation Committee of the Espoo Convention called on Belarus to invite the IAEA to assess its future NPP and to continue consultations with Lithuanian on the project. The plant is sited some 10 miles from the Lithuanian border.

Date: Friday, 15 April 2016
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