Belarus's Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk said that work on the second unit at the country's first nuclear power plant is proceeding on schedule - and said that the feasibility of building a second nuclear power plant in the country is ongoing.Belarus's first nuclear power plant, in Ostrovets, has been built by ASE (Image: ASE)
Mikhadyuk gave his update on the progress of the work during a tour of the plant organised for Lithuanian journalists and bloggers, according to the country’s Ministry of Energy.
"The second power unit is at the stage of commissioning. We are doing the tests as envisaged in the special programmes. The work is on schedule. We are planning to connect the unit to the grid this year," said Mikhadyuk, according to the official Belta news agency.
The energy ministry reported him as saying that on the issue of safety it was "an unconditional priority, the main requirement of the head of state. It is provided by three main elements: modern technologies; quality of work implementation; highly qualified personnel".
He added that "a fund has been established to maintain and improve the safety of the station and a fund to finance the decommissioning of nuclear power plants. We are already putting aside funds there, as we constantly think about security, about the future”.
And asked about a possible second nuclear power plant in the country, he said: "An order was given to study the feasibility of this project. There are technical issues - to enter it into the country's energy system, to find a consumer. An interdepartmental working group has been created to deal with these issues."
The first power unit of Belarus's nuclear power plant was connected to the grid in November 2020 and, the energy ministry says, by the time it was put into scheduled maintenance in April, it had generated 9.3 TWh of electricity.
It says that once both units - Russian VVER-1200 reactors - are commissioned the plant will produce about 18.5 TWh of electricity per year, equivalent to 4.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas, with an annual effect on the country's economy of about USD 550 million.
Lithuania remains opposed to the Ostrovets plant, which is sited close to its border with Belarus, less than 50 kilometres from its capital Vilnius.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News