A storage facility for radioactive waste of the Astravets nuclear power plant will appear in Belarus in ten years, the Minsknews agency reports with reference to Leanid Dzedul, first deputy head of the state inspectorate for nuclear and radiation safety (GosAtomNadzor).
At Wednesday’s press briefing, Leanid Dzedul reminded that the country’s strategy provides for temporary storage of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste at the NPP site for the period of ten years. According to him, used-up fuel assemblies are to be placed in a special holding pool for ten years. Then the fuel is expected to be sent to Russia for reprocessing, but even after that radioactive waste which is subject to long-term storage will remain; under the law, it shall return to Belarus, the top official explained. Until then, a special facility will have been built; the first stage is to be completed by 2031.
“Now we are choosing a site for the construction of the facility. As soon as there is information about its approximate location, public discussions will start to be held,” Viktoryia Antonava, a representative of GosAtomNadzor, added.
The launch of the plant was postponed from 2018. The project is being developed despite the protest of the public, a number of environmental organisations, some international organisations and Lithuania, whose border is several tens of kilometres from the reactors. The Lithuanian parliament even declared the station a ‘threat to national security’. In response to the production of the first kilowatt-hours in Astravets, Lithuania stopped trading in electricity with Belarus.
On November 7, Alyaksandr Lukashenka officially opened the facility. However, the day after his visit, the equipment at the BelNPP failed. During the tests at the first unit, ‘the need to replace some electrical measuring equipment’ was revealed, the Energy Ministry said. At the same time, according to the ministry, all technological systems kept ‘operating in the regular mode’.
In February, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Belarusian nuclear power plant in Astravets, demanding that its commercial launch be suspended.