22 Feb 2018 19:08

Belarusian Energy Ministry confirms 2019 launch for BelNPP's first unit despite missteps by contractor

OSTROVETS. Feb 22 (Interfax) - The first power generation unit of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant (BelNPP) will be launched on schedule, despite certain missteps by the general contractor, Belarusian Energy Minister Vladimir Potupchik told reporters at an Energy Ministry board meeting.

Atomstroyexport, a Rosatom company, is the general contractor for construction of the plant.

"Our priority is making the plant operational. The deadlines have been set - December 2019. We have no doubts that this will be done in a timely fashion," Potupchik said.

During the meeting, the minister said that only 80% of NPP construction work planned for 2017 was completed due to miscalculations by the general contractor.

"The primary reason is a shortage of skilled construction personnel at the site and a failure to deliver equipment on time. Work valued at 15.4 billion Russian rubles has been done out of a total of 19.1 billion rubles of work planned," the minister said.

At the same time, "in light of this [situation], decisions have been made on how to alter the picture, in order to launch the facility on time," Potupchik said.

"All organizational measures have been taken, and today, all those involved in the construction of this facility understand what they must do, what volume of work must be carried out - key events are scheduled specifically by month," the minister said.

"Today, I have absolutely no doubts as minister [regarding the plant's launch deadlines]," he said.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant uses the Russian VVER-1200 design. It will consist of two units, each with capacity to generate 1,200 megawatts. The first unit is scheduled to begin operating in 2019 and the second in 2020.