Belarus, Russia sign nuclear security cooperation agreement
MINSK, 4 February (BelTA) – Energy Minister of Belarus Alexander Ozerets and Director General of the Russian state corporation for nuclear energy Rosatom Sergei Kiriyenko signed an intergovernmental agreement on nuclear security cooperation between Belarus and Russia on 1 February, BelTA has learnt.
“The construction of the nuclear power plant is not just the issue of construction. It is a big issue related to the personnel training and absolute compliance with the international requirements of openness and transparency, IAEA requirements. We are building here the safest and most advanced nuclear power plant meeting all post-Fukushima requirements. The agreement signed today is one of the brightest examples of cooperation of the states in nuclear and radiation security taking into account new requirements that emerged following the Fukushima disaster,” Sergei Kiriyenko said commenting on the signed agreement.
The draft agreement on cooperation in nuclear security was approved in late 2012. The agreement envisages various cooperation forms, including the development of the nuclear security infrastructure, security regulation systems, development and improvement of the existing legal framework taking into account the IAEA requirements and norms, development of the crisis center network in Belarus, training of specialists in nuclear security.
The first document regarding the preparation to the NPP construction in Belarus was signed in Minsk on 28 May 2009. it is the Belarusian-Russian intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy. This framework document stipulates the main areas of cooperation in the development, designing, construction and exploitation of the nuclear power plant, supplies of nuclear fuel, ensuring of nuclear and radiation security as well as the issues of scientific cooperation and the training of the personnel.
The next step was the signing of the contractual agreement on the NPP construction in October 2011. The document envisages the construction of power generating units No.1 and No.2 in Belarus. The document was signed by Atomstroyexport (Russia), the company of the state corporation Rosatom, and the NPP Construction Directorate (Belarus). On 18 July 2012 Belarus and Russia signed the general contract on the construction of the Belarusian NPP. The genera contract defines the obligations and responsibilities of the parties, the timing of the project, its estimated cost up to 2020, payment terms, delivery of equipment, organization of construction, commissioning of the units and other conditions.
In November 2011 the sides signed an intergovernmental agreement on the allocation of the Russian state export loan of up to $10 billion to Belarus. In December 2012 the board of the Russian Vnesheconombank (VEB) approved the opening of the $500 million credit line for the Finance Ministry of Belarus to provide advance payments for the NPP construction works.
Russia is ready to provide Belarus with a soft long-term state loan of $10 billion for 25 years.
The construction of the nuclear plant will enable Belarus to replace nearly 5 billion cubic meters of imported natural gas annually, cut the cost of electricity, reduce carbon footprint by about 10.7 million tonnes, and significantly improve the country’s energy security.
The Belarusian nuclear power plant will have two power generating units with the total capacity of up to 2,400MW (1,200MW each). It will be built at the Ostrovets site in Grodno Oblast. The design AES-2006 has been chosen for Belarus’ first nuclear power plant. The design is fully compliant with international norms and IAEA recommendations. The first power generating unit of the nuclear power plant is scheduled for commissioning in November 2018, with the second one scheduled for July 2020.