Ostrovets, Belarus, 10 June 2021, Russian and Belarusian parties signed an acceptance certificate for the start-up of power unit No. 1 of Belarusian NPP. Rosatom’s Engineering Division acted as the project’s general designer and general contractor.
The power unit was transferred in accordance with both the terms stipulated in the contract for the construction of BelNPP and the legislation of the Republic of Belarus.
According to the contract, the general contractor assumes responsibility for the power unit’s operability for the duration of the warranty period.
“Today, we witness a historic event. The first power unit equipped with the latest generation III+ [technology] to be built by Rosatom outside of Russia has been put into commercial operation. This is the result of extensive work carried out by a team of highly qualified specialists from the two countries [and] a testament to the reliability and efficiency of Russian nuclear technologies and our common success,” said Rosatom’s Director General Alexey Likhachev.
“In handing over to our Belarusian colleagues the symbolic key to the country’s first nuclear power unit, I can say with full confidence that Belarus has become the owner of the most modern and safest facility,” said Rosatom’s First Deputy General Director for Nuclear Energy and ASE EC President Alexander Lokshin, as he presented a symbolic key to the power unit to Belarusian NPP Director General Mikhail Filimonov. “You will require this key no earlier than 80 years from now and only to close the station.”
The physical start-up of power unit No. 1 of Belarusian NPP began on 7 August 2020 and the unit was connected to the grid on 3 November 2020, entering pilot operation on 22 December 2020. On 2 June 2021, the Collegium of Belarus’s Ministry of Emergency Situations issued a permit for the power units’ commercial operation.
Equipped with two VVER-1200 reactors, the 2,400 MW total capacity Belarusian NPP is being built in the city of Ostrovets in the Grodno region of Belarus. For its first nuclear power plant, Belarus selected a Russian-designed generation III + project that fully complies with international standards and the safety recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Currently, there are four VVER-1200 power units successfully operating in Russia: two at Novovoronezh NPP and two at Leningrad NPP.
The innovative VVER-1200 reactor-equipped generation III+ power unit has a number of advantages when compared to reactors of previous generations (i.e. the VVER-1000), including a unique combination of active and passive safety systems that make equipped NPPs maximally resistant to external and internal influences. VVER-1200 power units are equipped with a “core catcher” – a device designed to contain and cool the melt of the reactor core [in the event of a hypothetical accident], as well as other passive safety systems capable of operating without the participation of personnel in the event of a complete power outage. In addition, the generation III+ design has increased the reactor’s capacity by 20%, reduced the number of maintenance personnel, and doubled the unit’s lifespan from 30 to 60 years, with the possibility of a twenty-year extension.