Second BelNPP unit 70% ready, Energy Ministry says

Unit 1 of the Belarusian NPP. October 11, 2019. Photo: Natalia Fyadosenka / TASS / Forum

Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mihadziuk said that the readines levels of the first unit is quite high, while the work on the second unit of the Belarusian NPP is 70% complete, the newspaper Respublika reports.

“The second unit’s level of readiness is estimated at 70%. Construction and installation works on nuclear and turbine island facilities, installation of the main equipment, technological pipelines, laying of cable products are carried out here. Preparations are under way to supply voltage for own needs, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2020. This is necessary for a full-scale launch of commissioning work on the second power unit,” said Mikhail Mikhadziuk.

Finishing works are in progress at the first power unit.

“We are now at the most important stage of pre-commissioning works — hot run-in of equipment, which we plan to complete in February. This means that fuel simulators have been loaded into the reactor vessel. According to the programme, we reach working parameters in terms of temperature and pressure, and try all the technological systems of the nuclear power plant,” the official said.

Besides, Mikhail Mikhadziuk spoke about the incidents at the construction site.

On February 4, 2020, the Lithuanian intelligence published a report, which states: last year, in June, both Rosatom and the Belarusian agencies classified information about the fire at the plant. The official believes that nothing extraordinary happened.

“An incident when residual paint, cooked on solvent, caught fire in a metal bucket occurred in May 2019 due to the fault of one of the workers, who, in violation of safety regulations, smoked in near the bucket of paint, which led to an ignition of paint and smoke in the room. The fire was quickly eliminated using a fire extinguisher. The fire alarm system went off on schedule,” said the deputy minister.

According to Mikhail Mihadziuk, such an incident does not require notification of the Lithuanian side, as it did not concern the reactor building and technological systems.

Lithuania is the main critic of the Astravets NPP, which is under construction 50 km from Vilnius. The Lithuanian authorities insist that the facility is being built with safety violations. Minsk refutes these allegations.

The launch of the BelNPP has been postponed several times. Now the exact date of the nuclear power plant operation is not known.