You break it, you pay for it: Belarus expects Russia to replace damaged NPP reactor

Belarus is set to return the reactor vessel after the off-nominal situation in accordance with the relevant agreement with Russia, Director General of the state enterprise Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant Mikhail Filimonau said attending the 60th session of the IAEA General Conference in Vienna.

As reported earlier, during installation the enclosure of the future reactor fell from the height of 2 – 4 meters at the construction site of the Belarusian NPP in Astravets.

“A reactor vessel is a piece of equipment. Such matters take time. It is necessary to take into account the operation of the railway and other matters. Everything proceeds in accordance with our agreement with Russia. The Russian side will take back the reactor vessel. There is no doubt about that. The decision has been made. Now the decision is being implemented,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes the executive as saying.

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’.

Then Belarus president Alyaksandr Lukashenka ordered to ‘get rid of the reactor vessel’ if it had suffered ‘the slightest bit of damage’. Rosatom admitted that the incident had taken place but stated that Belarusian NPP reactor housing had not been damaged.

The NPP first power-generating unit is scheduled for commissioning in 2018, the second one – in 2020. The construction of two nuclear reactors is provided in the agreement reached by Belarus and Russia, the reactors being supplied by Atomstroyexport, Russia. The project faced opposition at home and abroad on both safety and political grounds.

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