Atomic precision in focus

Despite crisis, Belarusian nuclear power station is being built according to the schedule and meeting the strictest safety requirements
Despite crisis, Belarusian nuclear power station is being built according to the schedule and meeting the strictest safety requirements.

At construction site of first power unit at Belarusian nuclear power station

The aftershock of the world economic crisis and economic sanctions imposed on Russia by Western states are not aiding construction, notes the Deputy General Director of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Station Republican Unitary Enterprise, Andrey Barkun. He explains that the contractor, Russia’s State Nuclear Corporation JSC NIAEP — JSC Atomstroyexport (ASE), has experienced problems and, being a market monopolist, offers Belarus no choice but to seek its help. “We now need to agree,” he admits.

Belarus has complete understanding of the situation, morally, psychologically and economically. The chief engineer of the Belarusian nuclear power station, Anatoly Bondar, stresses that supplies of equipment and components have been forthcoming, allowing the construction process to remain in full swing. He notes, “We’ve received equipment strictly in line with our schedule, as fixed by the timetable of construction and assembly. There’s no need to do this ahead of time but the process must have no delays.”

The Russian Rouble’s devaluation hasn’t hampered construction, since the contract price is set in US Dollars, says Mr. Barkun. “The credit allocated by Russia is also in Dollars and, in line with the contract, the cost of works and equipment is set in Russian Roubles (but is monthly transformed into Dollars using the latest exchange rate),” he tells us.

In addition, the Belarusian station faces no problems with supplies from Ukraine, despite recent conflict. If problems arise, Russian enterprises can step into the breach.

Next autumn, Russia’s largest educational establishment — the Ural Federal University — will launch training of specialists for the Belarusian station. In addition, the university will liaise with Belarus’ IT training flagship, the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics, which is to offer a programme of joint post-graduate studies. From 2017, students will be able to study at the Ural Federal University after finishing their bachelor’s degree course at the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics.

Specialists are being invited from Russia to train Belarusian personnel for the station, explains Mr. Bondar. “We’re attracting Russian specialists to train our own staff by example. It usually takes 3-4 years to train staff for the main control room (using a special programme). However, taking specialists from Belarusian thermal power plants and hydro-electric stations, we will have received an opportunity to prepare our own specialists via borrowing the experience of invited specialists by the launch of the second power unit.”

With this in mind, the future Belarusian nuclear power station is constructing an educational-training centre, manned by specialists who have thorough knowledge of Belarusian power stations, as well as knowledge of equipment,” explains Mr. Bondar. “By late 2015, we’ll also have a fully-fledged simulator, as used by Belarusian university alumni at Novy Voronezh, Ivanovo and other centres.”

Belarusian enterprises are taking part in constructing the second Kursk nuclear power station, while the first Belarusian nuclear power station is being built in the north-west of the country, 18km from Ostrovets (Grodno Region). The latter will comprise two reactors, producing up to 2,400MWt, with the first launched in 2018 and the second in 2020.

By Mikhail Ostakhov
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