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VATESI calls on the Belarusian Ministry of Emergency Situations to immediately resolve the Belarusian NPP nuclear safety issues

In the letter of 17th of September, 2021 addressed to the Belarusian Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES), which acts in Belarus as nuclear safety regulator, the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) calls to suspend operation of Unit 1 and do not start commissioning of Unit 2 of Belarusian NPP in order to immediately resolve safety issues.

"Most of the long-standing issues of ensuring nuclear safety have not been resolved so far. In the advanced countries, which operate nuclear power plants, the biggest attention usually is dedicated to ensuring nuclear safety and not only for keeping on construction schedule terms. Unfortunately, Belarusian priorities are different and this demonstrates low safety culture and rouses serious concerns regarding safety," says VATESI Head Michail Demčenko.

VATESI in the letter to the MES reminded still the lack of specific information of the nuclear power plant construction site selection and evaluation, NPP equipment resistance to seismic events and to the effects of a large civil aircraft crash, implementation of stress tests recommendations, probabilistic safety assessment, fire hazard analysis and other safety assessment issues. Also, there is no information provided regarding authorized discharge limits for the Unit 1, clarification and details of the abnormal events since the beginning of commissioning and the status of related safety significant systems. There is no evidence that final safety analysis report for the Belarusian NPP Unit 1 was reviewed and agreed on by the regulator before the start of commercial operation. VATESI also calls on the MES and other responsible Belarusian authorities to publish all international expert mission recommendations (e.g. Pre-OSART) and their implementation results.

"As Belarusian NPP Unit 1 is currently not in operation, time of its maintenance also could be used for implementation of all safety improvement measures", says Michail Demčenko.

Copies of this letter also sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Commission, the President of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Chairs of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) and the Western European Nuclear Safety Regulators Association (WENRA). In all these organizations Belarus participates with member or observer status.