What has and what will the use of nuclear energy give to Belarus
On November 3rd, the President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the BelNPP during a working trip to the Ostrovets District of the Grodno Region, where the second power unit was finally put into operation. Our country has joined the club of powers that use atoms for peaceful purposes. Thus, a serious step has been taken in strengthening the energy security and energy independence of our state.
The President of Belarus,
“Three years ago as I was launching the first unit, I said that a historical day had come: the age of peaceful atom began. And indeed, by receiving this magnificent facility as a gift ahead of November 7th in the complicated year of 2020, we did the right thing by creating this wonder.”
During a visit to the BelNPP on November 3rd, 2023
Welcome to the club
Since the inclusion of the first power unit of the BelNPP into the unified energy system, the station has generated a total of more than 20.6 billion kWh of electricity, which has already made it possible to replace 5.6 billion cubic metres of natural gas.
Experts estimate that the foreign exchange burden on the economy has decreased by more than $650 million. To understand: for this amount you can purchase about 980 MRI machines and build 1,433,138 square metres of housing with state support.
According to the Energy Ministry, the Belarusian NPP will generate about 18 billion kWh annually and will provide more than 40 percent of the country’s domestic electricity needs. The share of natural gas in the country’s fuel and energy balance will decrease to 65 percent. At the same time, an environmental effect has already been achieved: due to the operation of the Belarusian NPP, greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by more than 9 million tonnes.
Energy of the future
About 30 countries get their energy from more than 190 nuclear power plants, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. They operate 412 power units. The list of leaders is headed by the USA, France and Japan. According to experts, today in the world a total of almost 370,170 MW is generated at nuclear power plants.
The starting point for the construction of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant was 2005. Then the Head of State approved the Concept of Energy Security of Belarus and instructed to study the feasibility of constructing a nuclear power plant. On January 15th, 2008, the most important decision in the modern history of Belarus was made to build a nuclear power plant in our country.
And already on August 9th, 2012, with the participation of the President Aleksandr Lukashenko, a ceremony was held to lay the capsule with a message to future generations.
The Russian project AES-2006, which relates to the evolutionary projects of nuclear power plants with third-generation pressurised water reactors of increased safety, was selected for implementation.
After all, the main requirement of the President is security.
The Russian project was chosen based on this criterion. It provides for everything, including the plane crashing into the reactor. Using similar technology, nuclear power plants have been commissioned in China and India, and are planned for commissioning in Egypt, Turkey, Hungary, and Bangladesh. The fact that the Belarusian NPP is at its best in terms of safety has been repeatedly confirmed by international expert missions, including the IAEA.
Already in August 2020, nuclear fuel was loaded into the reactor of the first power unit of the BelNPP, and on November 3rd of the same year, the first power unit was included in the country’s unified energy system. The second power unit of the Belarusian NPP was included in the country’s unified energy system on May 13th of this year. On November 1st of this year, the acceptance committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Parkhomchik, signed an act of acceptance for operation of the start-up complex of the second power unit of the BelNPP. Thus, the construction of the station is completely completed, and this has become a real gift to the residents of the region and the entire Belarusian people.
The world is for peaceful
According to IAEA forecasts, the capacity of all nuclear power plants in the world will increase by at least a quarter by 2050. The cost of electricity produced today by nuclear reactors allows it to seriously compete with other types of power plants.
Renewable energy, along with nuclear power, will meet the vast majority of growth in global electricity demand in the coming years, according to a report by the International Energy Agency.
More and more countries are considering the use of small modular reactors. Interesting fact. Poland is going to build three nuclear power plants, and Lithuania is looking at small modular nuclear power units. And many EU countries are going to create an industrial alliance for those interested in small reactors. These are the states that most loudly criticised Belarus for the decision to build its own nuclear power plant and in every way prevented the implementation of the project.
At the moment, a trend has emerged in the world called the ‘nuclear renaissance’. Even the most conservative IAEA forecasts say that up to 600 new power units could be built on the planet by 2030.
The increase in the share of nuclear energy in the global energy balance may be affected by such factors as reliability, acceptable level of costs compared to other energy sectors, relatively small volume of waste, and availability of resources.
The environmental benefits of nuclear generation are due to the fact that nuclear energy has zero direct CO2 emissions, and total greenhouse gas emissions throughout the entire life cycle are minimal and comparable to emissions from wind power plants. Moreover, this figure for nuclear power plants is the lowest of all types of clean generation. Nuclear energy is another artificial high-tech lung of the planet.
For Belarus, nuclear power plants are a safe, powerful and environmentally friendly source of electricity. Nuclear technology is much more than just electricity. These are thousands of new jobs, nuclear medicine, a quantum leap for agriculture, access to clean water and much more.
And further. The construction of nuclear power plants ensures economic growth and the creation of new jobs: one job during the construction of a nuclear power plant creates more than 10 jobs in related industries.
Also, the development of nuclear energy plays a vital role in creating more comfortable conditions for the country’s population: in terms of using electricity for heating and hot water supply to residential buildings. The plans for this five-year period include the construction of 2 million square metres of multi-apartment housing ‘plug-in’.
In addition to its macroeconomic significance for the entire country, the BelNPP has a significant positive impact directly on the region where it is located. In just over 10 years, the urban village of Ostrovets has turned into a beautiful, well-maintained city. The social sphere is actively developing.