OSTROVETS, 11 October (BelTA) – The physical launch of the first unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant is scheduled for March 2019, BelTA learned from Belarusian Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadyuk on 10 October.
The official said: “Bearing in mind the timeframe and technological requirements, the general contractor has put together a schedule, which specifies a number of key points and important events. Everything is being done, for instance, to deliver nuclear fuel this year. We are supposed to go ahead with the physical launch of the reactor unit in March 2019. It means the fuel will be loaded into the reactor and tests will begin. We should get connected to the national power grid in mid-2019.” The reactor is supposed to reach the designed output capacity by the end of the year after that.
Personnel to operate the first unit have been recruited and trained. Specialists to operate the second unit are being recruited and trained in line with the schedule. Mikhail Mikhadyuk made it clear the first unit is nearly ready. The installation of the primary equipment is virtually over. All the systems are undergoing startup and commissioning procedures. The readiness of the second unit is past 95%. The installation of the primary equipment is in progress.
Vitaly Polyanin, acting supervisor of the Belarusian nuclear power plant construction project and Vice President of ASE (the engineering division of the Russian nuclear industry corporation Rosatom), told media: “We intend to enable the flow of water to the nuclear power plant from the Viliya River on 11 October. Pumps of the first elevation and the second elevation are ready for it. The first chemically desalted water will be made in late November. Once the reactor is assembled, the water will be used to fill the primary circuit and allow us to go ahead with cold and hot tests of the reactor unit.” The reactor assembly for the sake of hydraulic testing is supposed to begin in late November and end in mid-December. Fuel imitators will be inserted instead of real fuel rods for the duration of the tests. The imitators have already been delivered to the construction site.
The press conference was the final event of the latest media tour to the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. About 30 reporters from Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Hungary, Ukraine, and Bangladesh as well as their Belarusian colleagues took part in the media tour. Among other things the reporters saw the central switchboard for controlling the nuclear power plant’s primary electric equipment. All the processes are automated. No human interference is required. A shift of three people is in charge of operating the switchboard.
The reporters also saw the gas insulated switchgear, in other words, the place where electricity flow from the Belarusian nuclear power plant to the national power grid will begin. Startup and commissioning operations are in progress there now.
The reporters also saw the education and training center where Belarusian nuclear power plant personnel are trained. It boasts a full-scale simulator, which is an exact replica of the real nuclear power plant control room. The simulator can be used to model about 300 various situations in order to train the personnel to act automatically. Participants of the media tour could also discuss safety and the history of construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant as they were made familiar with the exposition in the nuclear power plant’s information center.
The media tour was arranged within the framework of the 23rd Belarusian Energy and Ecology Forum, which is taking place in Minsk. Top Belarusian and foreign producers of equipment, technologies, and materials came to Minsk to showcase modern solutions in the area of power engineering, petrochemical industry, electric technology, ecology, and energy saving.