Electricity production on hold as equipment needs replacement at Belarusian NPP

The equipment at the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant that was launched a few days ago has failed. During the tests at the first unit, “the need to replace some electrical measuring equipment” was revealed, the Ministry of Energy said. These works have just started. At the same time, according to the representatives of the Ministry, “all technological systems operate in the regular mode”.

In spite of what has happened, the atomic plant workers continue the power launch of the plant. This stage provides for operating modes of the power unit at various power levels and verification of the power system performance in case of its repeated decrease. The country’s authorities assure that the tests are conducted “in accordance with the stage program”.

At the same time, according to the independent media TUT.BY with reference to its source, on the eve when the first power unit stopped generating power and the turbine was stopped, there were several explosions of transformers at one of the units connected to the generator. They were ruined. It would take a long time to replace the equipment, so the power would probably not be generated.

The accident at the Belarusian nuclear power plant occurred the day after Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s visit to the plant, who officially opened the facility. Commissioning of the plant had been postponed several times. It was planned to open even before the presidential elections on August 9. However, as a result, loading of nuclear fuel into the reactor of the first power unit of Astravets NPP started only on August 7, and on November 3 the plant started to produce the first kilowatt hours and became part of the country’s energy system.

The Belarusian NPP has been under construction in Astravets since 2011 by the state corporation Rosatom. The second unit of the nuclear power plant is planned to be launched in 2021. The plant is located 40 km from Vilnius, its construction is being actively opposed by the Lithuanian authorities. They tried to block the construction of the NPP with the help of the European Union authorities. Lithuania has many times sent protest notes and urged the official Minsk not to launch the plant. Vilnius believes that the Belarusian nuclear power plant was built in violation of international nuclear safety standards. The Lithuanian parliament even declared the plant a “threat to national security”.

The BelNPP with two VVER-1200 reactors with a total capacity of 2,400 MW “is being built according to the Russian project “NPP-2006″, which refers to the evolutionary projects of NPP with water-water reactors (VVER) of the third generation of increased safety”. They have improved technical and economic performance. “Their main feature is a unique combination of active and passive safety systems. The reactor building has a double protective shell,” the Belarusian state media emphasize.