A full construction licence has been issued for the first of two units at the Ostrovets plant in Belarus, allowing the reactor and plant buildings to be built. First concrete was poured for the unit in late 2013 after the country's nuclear regulator granted a permit for just the foundations to be built.
The State Entity Nuclear Power Plant Construction Directorate (Belarus AEC) submitted its construction licence application for the two-unit plant in February 2013. A permit to build the basemat for the first unit was then issued in September 2013, with first concrete poured in November. A licence for the construction of the foundations for the second Ostrovets unit was issued in February, but first concrete has yet to be poured.
The Department for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (Gosatomnadzor) of the Ministry of Emergencies has now issued Belarus AEC with a full licence for the construction of the first reactor at the Ostrovets site in the Grodno region.
"The document permits us to start the main stage of construction of the first power-generating unit," Belarus AEC said.
Belarus launched a tender for the construction of the plant and in August 2008 invited bids from Russian state nuclear enterprise Rosatom, Areva and Westinghouse-Toshiba. The 1200 MWe AES-2006 model VVER design, developed by the Saint Petersburg AtomEnergoProekt, was selected for use at the plant.
The main construction contract was awarded to AtomStroyExport (ASE) in October 2011, while a $10 billion turnkey contract was finalised between Belarus and Rosatom in July 2012 for the supply of the two reactors.
The construction time for the first unit is expected to be 60 months after first concrete, with the beginning of the physical start-up and commissioning of the unit due in November 2018. The construction of the second unit will be about 18 months behind it, with commissioning set for July 2020.