An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts recently concluded a five-day Site and External Events Design (SEED) mission to Belarus, which is constructing its first ever nuclear power plant with Russia’s assistance.
The SEED team reviewed the design parameters of the nuclear power plant being constructed using Russian VVER technology against external hazards specific to the site at Ostrovets, northern Belarus. It may be mentioned here that identical technology will be used in the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh.
“This mission demonstrated that appropriate steps have been taken to establish the design parameters of the nuclear power plant to protect it against the worst credible external event.”’ said Greg Rzentkowski, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Installation Safety. “Nuclear safety is a national responsibility and, by inviting this mission, the Government of Belarus has shown a strong commitment to meet the intent of IAEA Safety Standards in the development of the country’s nuclear power programme.”
Like Bangladesh, Belarus is also building its first nuclear power plant with two units each with capacity of approx. 1,200 Mgw capacity. The first unit is scheduled to begin operation in 2019, the second one in 2020.
In its preliminary findings, the SEED team said the plant’s design parameters accounted for site-specific external hazards, such as earthquakes, floods and extreme weather, as well as human-induced events. The team noted that hazard monitoring programmes, which will be implemented throughout the life cycle of the plant, were adequate and properly documented. Additionally, measures have been taken to address challenges related to external events in light of lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
In accordance with IAEA practice, the final mission report will be delivered to the Government within three months. Belarusian authorities have told the IAEA that they intend to make the report public.
The mission team comprised two experts, from France and Hungary, and four IAEA staff members. Their activities included a review of the operator’s Preliminary Safety Analysis Report and supporting documents, in particular sections related to the design basis of the plant and site characterization.
SEED missions are designed to assist Member States at different stages in the development of a nuclear power programme. The service offers a choice of modules on which to focus the review, such as site selection and assessment, and the design of structures, systems and components against site external hazards. Apart from this SEED mission, Belarus has hosted other IAEA reviews, including an Integrated Regulatory Review Service last October and an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review in 2012.
Bangladesh has been the IAEA member since 1972 and its cooperation with the international organization has been close and effective. Bangladesh is implementing a national nuclear program and strictly complies with international standards and the IAEA recommendations.
At present, Bangladesh is implementing the measures provided for in the program for improving the nuclear infrastructure. The program has been recommended by the IAEA and is being implemented under the close supervision of the agency. For this purpose the IAEA conducts Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions on a regular basis.
According to latest report by a group of IAEA experts Bangladesh has made noticeable progress in implementing the recommendations of an IAEA Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, the experts found that a majority of the recommendations and suggestions, made by first INIR mission to Bangladesh in 2011, have been acted on. The mission recognized a considerable progress made by the country in the implementation of the national nuclear program; its results show that Bangladesh is well prepared for starting the construction of the nuclear power plant at Rooppur of Pabna district. The beginning of its main phase is scheduled for the summer of 2017.