Touching a nuclear reactor? It’s a piece of cake

Representatives of about eighty Russian and Belarusian enterprises take part in International Specialised AtomExpo-Belarus-2013 Exhibition
Yury Chernyakevich

Everyone knows about the nuclear power plant being constructed in Ostrovets but few know how much those building it are earning: in January, the average salary was $650-1,000 (in equivalent). Over 1,100 specialists are working at the construction site, with most hailing from Belarus, and, by the end of the year, up to 3,000 people will be employed there.

A recent press conference, held at Minsk-Arena, revealed further facts and figures about the building of the nuclear power station in Belarus, as part of the 5th International Specialised AtomExpo-Belarus-2013 Exhibition. About 80 Belarusian and Russian enterprises and organisations took part, including the Belarusian State University, which presented a project for providing secure chemical production. Meanwhile, those from the Academy of Science presented their work on nuclear waste storage and Atomtex (a Belarusian enterprise) showed its high-precision measuring equipment for the nuclear power industry.

An interactive three-dimensional model of the nuclear power plant being built in Ostrovets was on show at the forum, with visitors encouraged to touch the ‘reactor’. A crowd soon gathered at the stand organised by the St. Petersburg Scientific Research and Design Institute AtomEnergoProekt, marvelling at the model and learning about key features of the project by pushing little buttons: its security system, adaptations for the Belarusian site, and other characteristics. As soon as some people moved away, their place was swiftly taken.

This year, the prestigious international forum is hosted by Minsk. Since the event aims to show the latest technologies in the field of nuclear energy, Minsk is a logical venue. Belarusian and Russian companies attended keenly, eager to share their expertise with delegations from around the world. Such forums often lead to future collaboration, through meeting new partners.

Russia remains a valuable partner for Belarus in every sphere and, certainly, in building the nuclear power station; preparatory work began in 2009, as Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko noted at the press conference. Meanwhile, the skill of Belarusian builders working at the Ostrovets site has been richly praised by Russian experts. Alexander Merten, the Vice-President of Rusatom Overseas (a subsidiary of the Rosatom State Corporation) views their work as exemplary.

The nuclear power plant’s construction in Belarus now has many supporters, with the number of opponents ever falling; significantly, its security and reliability have been confirmed by experts at Rosatom Corporation and by the IAEA, which visited Belarus recently.
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