The first safety-related concrete has been poured for the foundation slab of the initial reactor at the Ostrovets site in Belarus marking the official start of construction of the country's first nuclear power plant.
The concrete-pouring process for the slab began on 6 November, according to Belarus official news agency Belta. This will provide a foundation for the containment and auxiliary buildings that are within the unit's nuclear island.
Nuclear Power Plant Construction Directorate (Belarus AEC) announced in late October that it had been issued with a construction licence for Ostrovets unit 1 by the Department for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (Gosatomnadzor) of the Ministry of Emergencies.
Belarus launched a tender for the construction of the plant and invited bids from Russian state nuclear enterprise Rosatom, Areva and Westinghouse-Toshiba. The 1200 MWe AES-2006 model VVER pressurized water reactor design, developed by the Saint Petersburg AtomEnergoProekt, has been 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 2018. The timetable for the second unit will be about 18 months behind it, with commissioning set for July 2020.