Belarusian nuclear power plant

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Belarusian nuclear power plant
Belarusian nuclear power plant is located in Belarus
Belarusian nuclear power plant
Location of Belarusian nuclear power plant
Country Belarus
Location Astravets, Hrodna Voblast
Coordinates 54°45′30″N 26°5′30″E / 54.75833°N 26.09167°E / 54.75833; 26.09167Coordinates: 54°45′30″N 26°5′30″E / 54.75833°N 26.09167°E / 54.75833; 26.09167
Status Under construction
Construction began 2013
Commission date 2018 (planned)
Construction cost US$10 billion
Nuclear power station
Reactor type VVER-1200
Reactor supplier Atomstroyexport
Power generation
Units under const. 2 × 1,200 MW
Nameplate capacity 2,400 MW
Website
dsae.by

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is a multi-reactor nuclear power plant project in Belarus. Initial plans were announced in the 1980s, but were suspended after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.[1] The drive for the current project was fueled by the Russia-Belarus energy dispute in 2007.[2] The project foresees construction of two nuclear reactors between 2016 and 2020, and probably two more reactors by 2025.[3] The reactors would be supplied by Atomstroyexport and the plant would be located in the Astravets district, Hrodna voblast.[4][5][6]

The project has faced opposition on both safety and political grounds, because Belarus has never before built a nuclear power plant.[7][8]

History[edit]

In the 1980s there were plans to build a nuclear heating and power plant in Rudensk, some 50 kilometres (31 mi)south of the vicinity of Minsk. Following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, these plans were halted.[1] The plant was to comprise two VVER-1000 nuclear reactors, designed to provide both electricity and heat for the city of Minsk. The reactors would each have had a power rating of 900 MW net and 940 MW gross capacity.[9][10]

The nuclear initiative was revitalized after Belarus gained independence from the Soviet Union. On 22 December 1992, Belarus announced its intention to build nuclear power plants and started a program to examine 15 possible sites. It was foreseen that the first unit of 500-600 MW would be commissioned by 2005, and additional units with a combined capacity of 1,000 MW by 2005 and 2010. However, no decision concerning site or reactor type was made.[1] In 1999, the Government of Belarus adopted nuclear moratorium.[11]

On 2 May 2002, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko stated that Belarus would not construct a nuclear power plant on its territory, but was interested in purchasing nuclear power from Russia, and in the possibility of constructing a Belarus-owned reactor at the Smolensk nuclear power plant in Russia.[12] However, in mid 2006, the Government of Belarus approved a plan for the construction of an initial 2000 MWe nuclear power plant in the Mahilyow Voblast using pressurized water reactors technology.[3]

After the Russia-Belarus energy dispute in 2007, Lukashenko re-declared that to ensure national energy security, Belarus needed to build its own nuclear power plant.[2] The Belarusian Security Council made the decision to construct a nuclear power plant on 15 January 2008.[13] According to the presidential decree signed in January 2008, the first reactor of the nuclear power plant should be operational by 2016, and the second one by 2018.[14][15] The Nuclear Power Act, covering the design and construction of nuclear facilities, the security, safety, and physical protection of such facilities, and their regulation (and also prohibiting the production of nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosives), was adopted by the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus on 25 June 2008.[16]

In June 2007, Russia offered a US$2 billion credit line for the purchasing of equipment from Russia's Power Machines Company.[3][17] In January 2009, it was decided that the nuclear power plant will be built by Atomstroyexpoert and the Russian loan was agreed in February 2009.[4][18]

On 27 February 2008, Iran announced that it is ready to provide assistance to Belarus in the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant in areas such as funding, personnel training, the sharing of experience, the installation of equipment, and training in operating such equipment.[19]

On 1 July 2009, a Ukrainian NGO sent a complaint to the Implementation Committee of the Espoo Convention alleging numerous violations of the Espoo Convention. In particular, the complaint argues that Belarus is in violation of the requirements of the Convention by pre-defining two key alternatives of the nuclear power plant construction – location and no-action alternative, as well as by not establishing an environmental impact assessment procedure that permits public participation.[20] In December 2009 European ECO Forum Legal Focal Points submitted a complaint to the Compliance Committee of the Aarhus Convention challenging legality of NPP construction due to violation of public participation rights provided by the Aarhus Convention.[21]

On 22 January 2011 the news was released that the contract for the Belarusian NPP will be signed in the first quarter of 2011 with Rosatom.[22]

On June 2012 the construction of the foundation pit for the nuclear power plant started near the small village of Shulniki in the Astravets district, Hrodna region, some 10 miles from the Lithuanian border.[23]

Both on March and April 2013 journalists where not permitted to visit the construction site. On March 2013 Radio Svaboda’s correspondent Mikhail Karnevich received official permission to make a report about the construction of the station. But when he came to Astravets, he found out that he would not be able to visit the construction site.[24] On April 2013 journalists Ales Barazenka and Nastaśsia Jaūmien have been detained in Astravets where they were filming the nuclear power plant construction and have been asked an "intelligible explanation to the fact of filming the construction works".[25]

The first nuclear concrete for Unit 1 was poured on 6 November 2013.[26] The second unit started construction 8 months later. Construction of each unit is expected to take about five years.[27]

Location[edit]

The location of the construction site was defined in early 2009. The nuclear power plant will be built at the Astravets (Ostrovets) site in Hrodna Voblast, 45 kilometres (28 mi) from Vilnius, Lithuania.[6][28] Alternative sites were Chyrvonaya Palyana near Bykhaw in Mahilyow Voblast,[29] and Kukshynava between Horki and Shkloŭ in Mahilyow Voblast.[30]

Technical features[edit]

Russian Atomstroyexport is the contractor to build the nuclear power plant. Atomstroyexport will also supply the III generation VVER-1200 type reactors ("AES-2006" project).[4][5][31] The first reactor of the nuclear power plant is expected to be operational by 2018, and the second one by 2020.[14] The first two reactors will have the combined capacity of around 2400 MW. It is possible that two additional reactors will be built by 2025.[3]

The nuclear power plant is expected to cost up to US$5 billion.[18] In addition, there are investments to upgrade the national power grid for power transmission from the nuclear power plant, and the construction of an urban settlement for the power plant's workers.

Organization[edit]

On 12 November 2007, a decree defining the organizations responsible for preparing the construction of the nuclear power plant was signed. In accordance with the decree, a Directorate for the Construction of a Nuclear Power Plant was established under the Ministry of Energy. This directorate oversees the preparation, design and exploration works. The Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department, part of the Emergencies Ministry, is acting as the state nuclear regulator and licensing authority.[32]

Scientific support for the project is provided by the United Power & Nuclear Research Institute Sosny of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. Belnipienergoprom, a state-owned company, is the general designer of the plant and operates as the project management company, negotiating and signing contracts with suppliers, carrying out feasibility studies and preparing tender documents.[32] Yelena Mironova is the Head of the project management service.

Controversy[edit]

The nuclear power plant plans have raised several concerns. Civil society groups have campaigned and collected signatures against the construction of a nuclear power plant in Belarus.[8][33] Young members of the Belarusian People's Front have campaigned against possible Russian involvement in the construction of the plant and urged the Belarusian government to award the contract to build the nuclear power plant to a company based in a country other than Russia.[7] A group of Belarusian scientists founded a movement for a nuclear-free Belarus, claiming that the Belarusian government started preparations for the construction of the nuclear power plant before a moratorium adopted in 1999 was expired. The moratorium expired on 14 January 2009.[11]

Unit Type Capacity Construction start Operation start Notes
Berusian 1 AES-2006 1150 MW 6 November 2013 November 2018 [34]
Berusian 2 AES-2006 1150 MW 3 June 2014 July 2020 [27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Belarus: Nuclear Power Reactors in Belarus". Nuclear Threat Initiative. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  2. ^ a b "Belarus to 'build nuclear plant'". BBC News. 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Emerging Nuclear Energy Countries". World Nuclear Association. 2011-03-04. Archived from the original on 19 March 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  4. ^ a b c "Russian company to build Belarusian nuclear power plant". Power-Gen Worldwide (PennWell Corporation). 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  5. ^ a b Natallya Karotkaya (2008-07-30). "Russia's Atomstroiexport confirms participation in bidding for nuclear power plant". Belarusian News. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  6. ^ a b "Nuclear power plant construction project in line with international norms". BELTA. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-02-10. 
  7. ^ a b "Opposition youths to campaign against Russia's involvement in construction of Belarusian nuclear power plant". Belarusian News. 2008-05-11. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  8. ^ a b "Group in Horki, Mahilyow region, said to have collected more than 2,500 signatures against nuclear power plant project". Belarusian News. 2008-06-13. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  9. ^ "Nuclear Power Reactor Details - MINSK-1 (Dual Purpose)". IAEA. Retrieved 2011-03-12. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Nuclear Power Reactor Details - MINSK-2". IAEA. Retrieved 2011-03-12. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b "Video: Scientists come out against construction of nuclear power plant in Belarus". Belarusian News. 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  12. ^ "Lukashenka against NPP construction Belarus". Nuclear Threat Initiative. 2002-05-02. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  13. ^ "Belarus makes final decision to build nuclear power plant". ITAR-TASS. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  14. ^ a b "Construction of nuclear power plant will become guaranty of national security for Belarus — expert". Regnum. 2008-02-12. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  15. ^ Korovenkova, Tanya (2008-02-01). "Lukashenka gives his official OK to construction of nuclear power plant". Belarusian News. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  16. ^ "Belarus adopts nuclear energy law". World Nuclear News. 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  17. ^ "Belarus nuclear plant gets Russian credit". World Nuclear News. 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2012-04-21. 
  18. ^ a b "Russia to provide loans to Belarus for construction of nuclear power plant". Belarusian News. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  19. ^ Rakhley, Maryna (2008-02-27). "Iran is ready to provide assistance to Belarus in construction of nuclear power plant, ambassador says". Belarusian News. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  20. ^ "Complaint about Belarus NPP under Espoo Convention". Resource & Analysis Center "Society and Environment". Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  21. ^ "Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters". UNECE. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  22. ^ "Basic agreement with Russia on NPP construction to be signed in Q1 2011". BELTA. 2011-01-20. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  23. ^ "Foundation pit for nuclear power plant starts being dug in Astravets district". BelaPAN. 2012-06-13. Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  24. ^ "Independent journalist not let to nuclear power plant’s construction site". Charter 97. 2013-03-21. Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  25. ^ "Nuclear power plant in Astravets: shooting forbidden". Belsat TV. 2013-04-26. Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  26. ^ "First Belarus reactor under construction". World Nuclear News. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  27. ^ a b "First concrete for second Belarus unit". World Nuclear News. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-03. 
  28. ^ "Белорусскую АЭС могут построить в Гродненской области" [Belarusian nuclear power plant may be built in the Grodno Voblast] (in Russian). Belarusian News. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  29. ^ "Мирный атом выгонит бабу Ганну из дому" [Peaceful atom drives baba Anna out from home] (in Russian). Belarusian News. 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  30. ^ "Белорусскую АЭС могут построить под самым боком у России" [Belarusian nuclear power plant may be built a very sideways of Russia] (in Russian). Belarusian News. 2007-12-11. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  31. ^ "Belarus To Announce Nuclear Power Planet Tender Soon". Space Daily. 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  32. ^ a b "Belarus gets organized for nuclear plant". World Nuclear News. 2007-11-15. Archived from the original on 24 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  33. ^ "Campaigners to collect signatures against construction of nuclear power plant in Cherykaw district". Belarusian News. 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  34. ^ "Berusian 1". Power Reactor Information System (PRIS). International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 2014-06-02. Retrieved 3 June 2014.