During installation the enclosure of the future reactor fell from the height of 2 – 4 meters. The widely-reported incident at the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in Astravets (Hrodna region) might have happened on July 10.
According to engineer-physicist Andrey Azharouski, a member of the Belarusian anti-nuke campaign, it does not matter from what height the reactor vessel fell.
“As the structure is heavy-weight, the energy of deformation is also huge on impact, that is why damage should be expected. Even a fall from the height of 30 cm could cause deformation of the body and worsen the mechanical properties of metal and welded joints,” Azharouski states.
“In the last few weeks there have been rumors in Astravets district about a serious accident at the construction site of the Belarusian NPP,” opposition activist Mikalai Ulasevich said on Facebook on July, 25.
At first, the Belarusian Energy Ministry declined any comment on the situation. The press office group of the company Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of the Russian state corporation Rosatom and the general contractor at the Belarusian NPP construction, said the information about the reactor’s fall was untrue.
Later, however, the Belarusian side confirmed that the ‘emergency situation had occurred in the storage area of the reactor body during its movement in the horizontal plane’ but failed to go into specifics.
The Republican Unitary Enterprise ‘Belarusian NPP’ which is a client of the project immediately demanded that the general contractor submit all the necessary documents and data. It is expected to decide on further steps after thoroughly studying information provided and looking into the matter.
Meanwhile, Lithuania’s government on Thursday handed a note to the Belarusian Embassy over the incident at the Astravets NPP, delfi.lt reports. Vilnius has also asked Brussels for involvement of the European Union (EU) in the matter.
Lithuania is the main critic of the idea of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, which is only 20 km from the border and 50 km from Vilnius. Minsk rejects Lthuania’s claims, arguing that nuclear power plants will have high safety standards.