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Belarus nuclear power plant a vital contribution to achieving global clean energy goals
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 04 - 11 - 2020

Belarus Tuesday joined the growing number of countries using nuclear energy to produce clean, reliable and cost-effective electricity. The Unit 1 of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant supplied its first electricity to the Belarusian grid at 12.03 p.m. local time. Unit 2 is expected to start next year.
When both units are at full power, the 2382 MWe plant will avoid the emission of more than 18 million tons of carbon dioxide each year by replacing coal-fired generation.
Over the next few years, Belarus will be joined by Bangladesh and Turkey as new nuclear energy countries. Plans are also well advanced for new nuclear construction in Egypt and Uzbekistan, with many more countries around the world looking to nuclear energy to meet their sustainable energy needs.
Sama Bilbao y León, director general, World Nuclear Association, commented, "Evidence is mounting that to keep on a sustainable and low-carbon energy path we need to rapidly accelerate the amount of new nuclear capacity built and connected to the grid globally. The 2.4 GW of new nuclear capacity in Belarus will be a vital contribution to achieving this goal."
The unit features Rosatom's flagship VVER-1200 reactor, a tried and tested latest generation (III+) technology with 3 power units up and running in Russia. It is a backbone of the Rosatom export order book consisting of 36 units across 12 markets, including Finland and Hungary.
Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev said: "The delivery of the first ‘nuclear' kilowatt-hours of electric energy into Belarus's unified energy system is a historic event that marks the beginning of the republic's nuclear [power] era. This was made possible by the efficient long-term efforts of a large team of Belarusian and Russian specialists.
"Undoubtedly, there is still a lot of work to be done before the unit is put into commercial operation, but we can already say that, as the first Russian-designed III + generation nuclear power plant to be built outside of Russia, Belarusian NPP is a success."
The first nuclear power plant in Belarus is based in Ostrovets, Grodno region, comprising two VVER-1200 reactors of 2.4 GW of total capacity. Currently, three reactors of this type are successfully operating in Russia: two at the Novovoronezh NPP and one at the Leningrad NPP. Once fully completed, the plant is expected to supply about 18 bn kWh of low-carbon electricity to the Belarus national grid every year.
The safety system of the plant has been fully endorsed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has concluded, that ‘the plant's design parameters accounted for site-specific external hazards, such as earthquakes, floods and extreme weather, as well as human-induced events' and that "measures have been taken to address challenges related to external events in light of lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi accident". — SG


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