21 Jul 2021 16:38

Belarus ready for joint projects with Rosatom to build NPPs in third-party countries - Energy Ministry

MINSK. July 21 (Interfax) - Belarus plans to expand its cooperation with Russian state cooperation Rosatom, which is completing construction of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant (BelNPP), Deputy Belarusian Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk said.

"Mikhadyuk mentioned Belarus-Russia cooperation in building nuclear power plants and their facilities in third countries as a promising cooperation avenue. Belarusian specialists have the necessary competence and experience for participation in such projects," Belarusian state news agency BelTA reported.

"Hungary, Turkey, Egypt, Uzbekistan, and Bangladesh are examining our experience of nuclear power plant construction," the agency quoted Mikhadyuk as saying.

"These countries and Rosatom are interested in getting Belarusian specialists and construction workers involved in the implementation of projects focusing on nuclear power plant construction and on personnel training," he said.

Mikhadyuk additionally said Belarus was currently discussing new areas of cooperation with Rosatom.

"In particular, the sides are considering a project to create a joint center for nuclear research and scientific studies on the basis of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. Belarus and Rosatom are considering the establishment of joint labs specializing in nuclear medicine and are considering the digitization of nuclear energy facilities and power grid infrastructure. Apart from that, the possibility of implementing joint projects in the sphere of quantum technologies and new materials is under consideration as well as research in the area of agriculture and radiobiology," BelTA said.

"Partnership will be advanced with other Russian companies and organizations, too, including in the sphere of scientific and technical support for the operation of the Belarusian nuclear power plant and for extending its service life, in the sphere of management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. The development of an intergovernmental agreement on shipping nuclear materials is in the final phase. We will also have to prepare an intergovernmental agreement on the management of spent nuclear fuel," Mikhadyuk said.

Belarus is completing construction of the NPP near the city of Ostrovets in the Grodno region in line with the Russian VVER-1200 project. It will consist of two power units, each with a capacity of 1.2 GW. The general contractor for construction of the NPP is ASE Group, a subsidiary of Rosatom. The physical launch of power unit No.2 is planned for before the end of this year, and it is expected to start operating in H1 2022. After full commissioning of its two power units, the BelNPP could produce around 18.5 billion kWh of power per year, which will meet around 40% of the country's electricity requirements.