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Commercial operation of Unit 1 of Belarusian NPP starts without resolution of all safety issues

On 2 June 2021, the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus (MES) has announced about the issuance of licence for commercial operation of Unit 1 of Belarusian NPP.

The fact of issuance of the licence has not changed VATESI position – operation of the Belarusian NPP must be suspended, safety issues must be resolved and necessary safety improvement measures must be implemented. On 31 March 2021, VATESI sent the letter to MES, in which once again has requested to suspend operation of Belarusian NPP.

Until now VATESI has not received proper answers to previously raised safety issues related to the site selection and assessment, design robustness against seismic events and intentional crash of large civil airplane, implementation of most stress tests recommendations, probabilistic safety assessment, fire hazard assessment and others safety issues. VATESI has repeatedly noted the importance of urgent implementation of all the above indicated safety improvement measures.

„Belarusian authorities despite repeated requests to suspend the works on commissioning and operation of the Unit 1 of the Belarusian NPP and to resolve nuclear safety issues, have focused all efforts not on the implementation of the − safety first − principle and giving priority to resolution of safety issues, but only on implementation of the start-up schedule. Such irresponsible approach to nuclear safety cannot be tolerated”, says VATESI Head Michail Demčenko.