The construction of the first nuclear power plant in Belarus can commence following the issuance of a permit from the country's nuclear regulator. The plant will be supplied by Russia.
The Department for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (Gosatomnadzor) of the Ministry of Emergencies has issued the State Entity Nuclear Power Plant Construction Directorate (Belarus AEC) with a licence for the construction of the first of two rectors at the Ostrovets site in the Grodno region. The licence was dated 13 September 2013, Belarus AEC reported.
Belarus launched a tender for the construction of the plant and invited bids from Russian state nuclear enterprise Rosatom, Areva and Westinghouse-Toshiba. Russia's AtomStroyExport (ASE) was reportedly the only bidder prepared to proceed and provide financing. 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 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.
While groundwork at the site has been ongoing for many months, the issuance of the licence allows full construction activities to begin. The pouring of first safety-related concrete is scheduled to take place by the end of the year.
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.