16 Oct 2023 13:01

Reliability run of second power unit at BelNPP completed, commissioning for industrial operation being prepared - Belarusian PM

MINSK. Oct 16 (Interfax) - The reliability run of the second power unit at the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant has been successfully completed, Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said on Monday at a meeting with Rosatom state nuclear energy corporation CEO Alexei Likhachev in Minsk.

"Literally the other day, the reliability run of the second power unit at the BelNPP was completed, and this is the final stage before commissioning in the prescribed procedure. [...] The corresponding working commission has begun activities in order to launch the station," Golovchenko said in a video segment of the meeting distributed by the government's press service.

The two power units of the Belarusian NPP have already generated more than 20 billion kWh of electricity, he noted.

The government has appointed an acceptance committee, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Pyotr Parkhomchik, Golovchenko said.

The Prime Minister said that the meeting with Likhachev was timed to coincide with the commissioning of the second power unit of the BelNPP, and further areas of cooperation between Belarus and Rosatom would be discussed. "In general, areas such as cooperation in nuclear medicine, additive technologies, digitalization, and energy storage devices have been agreed upon. The program documents for these are being prepared, and I would like to clarify the order of our further work," he said.

Likhachev said that before the second power unit of the BelNPP was put into industrial operation, "the entire necessary battery of tests was carried out. We were close to the same stringent safety requirements that we have in the operation of our stations, and we are satisfied that the most exciting stage for was accomplished, in our understanding, successfully. But the main judge is the customer, so we expect that it's up to you to decide," he said.

The head of Rosatom said, "There is no chance of us leaving Belarus at the end of this project. Naturally, throughout the entire life cycle of the station, we will continue our cooperation; we will deepen it and we will treat this station as our own as far as its operation and fuel supply are concerned. "We will offer new technological solutions related to a balanced fuel cycle and spent nuclear fuel," Likhachev said, noting that technologies will develop.

Rosatom is also interested in developing cooperation with Belarus in the field of non-energy nuclear technologies, such as nuclear medicine, research projects, and digitalization, he said.

Rosatom as such is counting on fruitful cooperation with Belarusian digital companies. The head of Rosatom also said that a number of Belarusian companies have received offers to work on the construction of Rosatom's gigafactory in the Kaliningrad region. "We, of course, see it as mandatory for Belarusian car manufacturers to participate in the entire cycle, in the production, operation and disposal of energy storage devices," Likhachev said.

The Ministry of Energy of Belarus reported on September 29 that the second power unit of the Belarusian NPP was brought to 100% capacity as part of the 15-day final stage of its reliability run.

On October 6, the first power unit was taken offline for scheduled maintenance, during which nuclear fuel will be reloaded into the reactor core, and about 25% of the fuel assemblies will be replaced.

The BelNPP is located near the city of Ostrovets, Grodno region, and was built according to the Russian VVER-1200 design. The station consists of two power units with a capacity of 1.2 GW. The general construction contractor is the ASE Rosatom group. A $10 billion Russian government loan was raised to finance the project. The first power unit was connected to the network in November 2020, and the second in May 2023.