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ENSREG encouraged Belarus to resolve all remaining safety issues of Belarusian NPP

On 24 November 2021, final peer review report on the implementation of the stress test recommen-dations of the Belarusian NPP was discussed and approved at the regular meeting of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG).

The peer review has the aim to evaluate the content and status of implementation of the Belarus National Action Plan that was published by Belarus in August 2019 following the ENSREG stress test report of July 2018.

ENSREG members underlines the safety significance of all safety recommendations and encourages Belarus to continue working on them to ensure and enhance the safety of Belarusian NPP in a timely manner. Also Belarus was encouraged to update the National Action Plan and include new additional safety measures proposed in the final review report.

Experts have an opinion expressed in the final report, that up to now some parts of the fire extinguishing systems as well as on-site fire brigade building are not qualified to sustain a design basis earthquake, stationary stations of the seismic observation network are not installed, waterproofing works of some buildings with safety important equipment are not completed. Two important additional recommendations are presented in the final report – to explore additional possibilities to deliver coolant into the reactor to provide more time before damage of the fuel in the open reactor and to enhance the effectiveness of the emergency ventilation system of the containment annulus in beyond design basis accidents.

“This is a common ENSREG opinion that implementation of the recommendations provided in the stress test report shall not be used to validate or authorize the operational safety of the Belarusian NPP. All the recommendations made in the stress test report are important and must be urgently implemented in order to strengthen the safety of the Belarusian NPP”, – after the meeting commented Michail Demčenko, Head of VATESI.

ENSREG recalls that a stress test exercise remains a targeted process reviewing the safety of certain aspects of a nuclear power plant (NPP) with the objective of enhancement of safety. Stress test and the implementation of follow-up actions should not be used to justify or authorize the safe operation of NPP.

In the European Union countries the safety of nuclear power plants is assessed taking into account all modern safety requirements. These modern safety requirements should be understood as a package of Nuclear Safety and Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management, Vienna Nuclear Safety Declaration, contemporary IAEA Safety Standards, both EU directives – Nuclear Safety and Radioactive Waste Management, WENRA Safety Reference Levels for existing reactors and Safety Objectives for new NPPs.

From the very beginning of the implementation of the Belarusian NPP project Lithuania was and still is of the opinion that the whole package of modern safety requirements shall be unconditionally implemented. Currently that means that the operation of the Belarusian NPP Unit 1 and commissioning of Unit 2 shall be suspended until all the above-mentioned safety requirements are properly addressed.

The peer review documents for the implementation of the stress test recommendations of the Belarusian NPP are published on the ENSREG website www.ensreg.eu.