The Astravets NPP launch has begun. The reactor of the first power unit has uranium fuel loaded into it. The authorities claim that everything is safe. However, the footage from the state television report puts this claim into question.
On August 7, the first thermal elements with nuclear fuel have been loaded into the reactor of the Astravets NPP. The water that will then become radioactive has not yet been let in. Officials promise that an energy launch — with electricity supplied to the grid — will take place in late autumn.
“This is a reliable, environmentally friendly and economically viable source of energy,” said Energy Minister of Belarus Viktar Karankevich.
Deputy Prime Minister Nazarau recalled the order of president Alyaksandr Lukashenka to launch the nuclear power plant.
And the video, shared with news agencies by the state television, shows a bird flying over the reactor core during the nuclear fuel load. Perhaps, it is a pigeon looking for a place to make a nest.
Belarusians remember that during the construction of the Astravets NPP by Rosatom specialists, the first reactor vessel fell from a height of four meters. It was replaced only after a huge public response. And the second one was hit against a pole when it was being transported by railway. There was also a collapse of some structures due to poor quality concrete, fires and other accidents.
How well the Astravets NPP was assembled will only become clear when a nuclear reaction occurs, said Andrey Azharouski, a nuclear energy expert and Russian engineer and physicist.
“This is one of the most unpredictable stages in the life of a nuclear plant… The fact that one reactor was dropped, the second one hit a pole is something on the surface that nuclear workers could not hide. There were a lot of violations there, including technological violations during construction,” Azharouski said.
The Chairman of the Belarusian Party “Greens” Dzmitry Kuchuk advises residents of Astravets district to be ready for emergency situations with a possible release of small doses of radiation in the coming days. Dzmitry Kuchuk notes that the loading of uranium fuel was hastened up for the elections.
Lukashenka’s plan to sell energy to Lithuania has failed — the Seimas has legally banned buying Belarusian electricity, as the NPP is dangerously close to the Lithuanian capital. Today, another anti-nuclear campaign was held in Vilnius.
The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry sent a note of protest to the Belarusian embassy. The official Vilnius condemned the loading of nuclear fuel at Astravets NPP, while the presence of a nuclear power plant there is called an immediate threat to national security.