Safety reviewed at Ostrovets before start up of unit 2

13 December 2021

Two more rounds of international peer review have taken place at Belarus' Ostrovets nuclear power plant as the power plant's second reactor prepares to start up.

Ostrovets (Image: European Commission)

"An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission found that Belarus has significantly strengthened its regulatory nuclear safety framework over the past five years," the agency announced today.

The IAEA had arranged for an Integrated Regulatory Review Service team to spend nine days at Ostrovets to review how plant managers had implemented recommendations and suggestions of an initial visit in 2016. The mission focused on the Ostrovets plant, but took account of all Belarusian nuclear regulation, including that for industrial and medical uses of radioisotopes.

"Belarus has made considerable improvements in its regulatory framework for safety since the 2016 mission and shows a strong commitment to nuclear and radiation safety," said Anna Hajduk Bradford, director of the IAEA Nuclear Installation Safety Division. The IAEA noted that Belarus has "made progress in developing and implementing the regulatory framework for emergency preparedness and response ... including the establishment of the emergency response centre in 2017 and the holding of complex emergency exercises."

Team members came from Canada, Finland, Greece, Pakistan, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, the USA, while four were IAEA staff members. Their visit was at the request of the Belarusian regulator, Gosatomnadzor.

Areas for further improvement identified were: to expand training for regulatory staff for possible technical challenges in the operation of Ostrovets; to develop performance indicators for regulatory inspections during operation; and to further align the regulatory framework with IAEA safety standards by including a requirement for the use of medical physicists in medical exposures control arrangements.

Another review was also carried out by experts from industry through the World Association of Nuclear Operators. Its team visited Ostrovets for two weeks from the end of November to conduct a pre-start up peer review which assessed the operator's readiness to load fuel and begin the operation of the reactor, which is expected to take place in early 2022.

Ostrovets has also been visited by and accepted recommendations from the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association and an IAEA Operational Safety Review Team mission.


Researched and written by World Nuclear News