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Belarusian NPP Unit 1 commissioning is being continued without implementation of all safety improvement recommendations

December 22, 2020. Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus (MES) publicly announced about the issuance of permit for trial industrial operation of Unit 1 of Belarusian NPP.


State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) regrets officially not being informed in due time neither directly by MES nor through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the issuance of the permit in spite of several previous requests to submit such information.


In the letter dated 10th of December VATESI repeated the request and expecting clarification and detailed information about Belarusian NPP Unit 1 standby reactor cooling system status and urged Belarusian Authorities to inform immediately the public in the vicinity of NPP and all stakeholders which could be concerned about the safety of Belarusian NPP about all potential risks or lower safety significance events.


In the letter dated 23th of September VATESI asked MES to clarify what kind of safety documentation shall license holder submit at each commissioning stage in order to obtain special permission (license) from MES and what is the timeframe for regulatory body to perform its own thorough review and assessment before issuing such authorizations. Till now VATESI has not received such clarification.


VATESI noted the crucial importance to ensure a safety oriented decision-making process in all phases of the startup of the Belarusian NPP. Taking into consideration safety concerns indicated by ENSREG and other international experts, suspension of commissioning of the first unit of the Belarusian NPP until the completion of ENSREG peer review of Belarusian National Action Plan and resolution of all indicated safety issues would be a demonstration of strong leadership and adherence to the - safety first - principle.


VATESI also reminded that is still waiting for response to its several previous letters where safety issues related to the site selection and assessment, design robustness against malevolent crash of large civil airplane, seismic design, stress tests recommendations, probabilistic safety assessment and others were raised.


VATESI once again noted the importance of urgent implementation of all earlier indicated safety improvement measures and had indicated its expectation of getting information about the progress in this implementation.