Nuclear Power

20 Nov 2020

Belarus Nuclear Plant Restarts

20 Nov 2020  by Anastasia Krasinskaya   

Belarus has resumed generation from the 1.2GW unit 1 at its Astravyets nuclear plant. The unit is running at 40pc capacity, the energy ministry said today.

The unit launched in test mode at the start of this month, but halted less than a week later after damage was detected at voltage transformers. The unit restarted after the transformers were replaced and a series of tests were carried out, the ministry said.

The unit came off line on 8 November, having been hooked up to the grid on 3 November.

Astravyets was built by Russia's state-run Rosatom and is Belarus' first nuclear reactor. It is due to begin commercial operations in the first quarter of 2021.

Rosatom's vice-president for engineering, Vitaly Polyanin, who oversees construction at Astravyets, said last week that the damaged transformers were produced by an Italian firm and that Rosatom would replace them with Russian equipment.

Polyanin said the incident was not critical and that there was no change to radiation levels at Astravyets. Rosatom said it will continue testing the unit before it starts commercial operations.

Unit 1 was generating at 400MW on 7 November, when Belarus' president, Alexander Lukashenko, visited the site.

The unit's load is due to increase in stages until it reaches capacity, the energy ministry said on 7 November.

The plant will eventually consist of two 1.2GW units — both VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors — built by Rosatom.

Lithuania stopped importing electricity from Belarus after unit 1's start-up because of concerns that Astravyets does not meet international security and environmental standards. Rosatom and Belarus' energy ministry reject these claims, noting that experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency were regular visitors during construction.

Astravyets is just 20km from the border with Lithuania and 50km from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Lithuania shut its own Ignalina nuclear plant in 2005-09 as part of its accession agreement with the EU. Ignalina consisted of two 1,3GW units and covered 70pc of Lithuania's energy needs.

This article is reproduced at

More News