Russia and Belarus radioactive waste disposal agreement

18 October 2023

Russia's TVEL and the Belarusian Organisation for Radioactive Waste Management have entered into a long-term cooperation agreement covering the creation and development of infrastructure for the final isolation of radioactive waste in Belarus, as well as training personnel for the operation of a near-surface waste disposal facility.

The agreements were signed on the sidelines of the Belarusian Energy Forum in Minsk (Image: TVEL)

Belarus's first nuclear power plant is currently in the process of being completed by TVEL's parent company Rosatom and the country has established a national Radioactive Waste Management Strategy, which includes the construction of a radioactive waste disposal facility.

Eduard Nikitin, director of decommissioning programs at TVEL, said the agreement "confirmed our bilateral interest in strengthening ties in a wide range of areas and aim to develop mutually beneficial cooperation, the priority of which is radioactive waste management".

He added: "The creation of a radioactive waste disposal facility ... will meet the requirements of the European Union Environmental Taxonomy and contribute to the sustainability of nuclear energy in the country ... and we are ready to share with our colleagues extensive and successful Russian experience in radioactive waste management."

Rosatom and the Belarus Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Andrey Khudyk also signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at developing cooperation "in the field of waste management, processing and disposal of hazardous waste, environmental monitoring and eliminating accumulated environmental damage".

Khudyk said the country aimed to preserve its "unique natural environment" and said that the partnership with Rosatom on "environmental protection issues, including in the field of hazardous industrial waste management and the elimination of objects of accumulated environmental harm" was a foundation for a low-carbon future.

Andrei Lebedev, Rosatom director overseeing environmental programmes, said the company would bring its skills and experience to the partnership and the creation "of a common position based on the principles of a circular economy, the development and exchange of innovative technological solutions and the creation of human resources".

Belarus's first nuclear power plant at Ostrovets is close to completion. The first power unit was connected to the grid in November 2020 and the second unit's trial connection to the grid happened in May. It says that with both units - Russian VVER-1200 reactors - 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.

Earlier this year, the Belarus Energy Minister Victor Karankevich said the country aimed to put the first stage of a radioactive waste storage facility into operation by 2030.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News