Second Belarus unit's trial connection to grid 'in March/April'

03 February 2023

A test link-up to the grid of the second unit at Belarus's nuclear power plant in Ostrovets is scheduled for March or April, according to the country's deputy energy minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant, at Ostrovets, pictured in 2020 (Image: Rosatom)

The first connection to the grid, at low power, is part of the commissioning process for nuclear power plants, which have a large series of tests and checks to be undertaken before going into full service.

Mikhadyuk said that the process involved carrying out tests at low output, reducing the output to zero, further tests and then gradually raising the output - starting from 40-50MW, then to 75MW and then 90MW. "The process will take at least half a year. Ensuring the safe operation of the nuclear power plant's unit, nuclear and radiation safety is the most important thing for us. This is why we are approaching the work meticulously," the official Belta news agency quoted the minister as saying.

Belta reports that Mikhadyuk said that construction and installation work at the second unit has been nearly finished. The ministry website says that nuclear fuel has been loaded into the reactor core and it is in a "97% degree of readiness". Start-up and commissioning operations are in progress. "Then the reactor unit's output will be raised to the minimum controllable power level".

In May last year, the energy ministry said it hoped for the second unit to be connected to the grid in 2022. The first power unit was connected to the grid in November 2020. The energy ministry says that once both units - Russian VVER-1200 reactors - are commissioned, the plant will produce about 18.5 TWh of electricity per year, equivalent to 4.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas, with an annual effect on the country's economy of about USD550 million.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News