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How Did Reactor Fall at the Belarusian NPP?

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How Did Reactor Fall at the Belarusian NPP?

The mid-July is noted with other accident on the construction site of the Belarusian NPP, it relates to reactor system.

This is not the first information about incidents and violations in the Astravets site in recent months.

Official comments on the situation are measured and the international community requires more information about the situation, naviny.by writes.

What could happen on the construction site?

Mikalai Ulasevich, an opposition activist and a resident of the Varnyany village, located six kilometers from the site of the Belarusian NPP, wrote on his Facebook page on July 25 about the accicident while the installation of the reactor, which occurred in July.

Ulasevich claims he has received the information from ten different people including workers from the NPP on the condition of anonymity while collection of signatures in the Astravets district.

"The accident happened on July 10, Sunday, while the test installation. On Monday it was planned to hold an installation ceremony covered by media. However, the 330-ton unit, for whatever reason, fell down from height of 2 to 4 meters. Now the place is cordoned off and is under constant and increased security of men in black," he wrote.

The Energy Ministry Admits the Incident

In the afternoon July 26, the Energy Ministry admitted the incident and said that the situation had occurred in the reactor vessel storage area while rigging work in the horizontal plane.

According to the Ministry, RUP "Belarusian NPP" "has immediately required for all necessary documents and information from the general contractor. The situation study currently continues.

The report does not say whether it relates to the drop of the reactor vessel. However, the Energy Ministry has assured that after "a comprehensive study of the information provided by AO Atomstroyexport a relevant decision to be taken", it is noted that the Belarusian side will be guided by the "need of absolute safety and security arrangements of the site under construction."

However, a few hours before the press office of Atomstroyexport Company told BelaPAN that the information about accident on the NPP did not correspond to the facts and assured: "The reactor vessel is outside the reactor compartment. There are no physical barriers for its installation."

Is It a Near Miss Or Accident?

Independent experts believe that the so-called "emergency with the reactor" could be quite hazardous.

Nuclear physicist Andrei Azharouski who is denied entry to Belarus for ten years for critics of the Astravets NPP finds it possible that the Russian contractor will play down the scale of the emergency:

"The problem is that both Rosatom and Belarusian nuclear scientists has proved they are willing to veil incidents. I can assume that such attempts are going to be practiced this time as well.

The physicist also noted that the construction of the NPP-2006 in Sosnovy Bor near St. Petersburg based on the same project had been accompanied by a number of serious accidents, it indicated a lack of quality of operation on the part of the Russian contractor.

On 17 July 2011 1200 tons of steel structures collapsed while construction of the IRVH (integrated reactor vessel head) at the Leningrad NPP, on 4 July 2015 70-ton core structure - protective tube unit - fell from the height of 20 meters. As a result, according to the expert information, the equipment was destroyed, and the launching of the unit was put on a back burner.

"There is direct evidence that the Russian NPP builders are not able to correctly estimate the strength of slings when working with heavy elements of the NPP", Azharouski believes.

In his opinion, this could lead to a drop of the reactor of the first power unit at the Belarusian NPP.

Physicist, Head of "Green Peace", a resident of Sosnovy Bor Oleg Bodrov noted that similar incidents in the construction site of the Leningrad NPP-2 were accompanied by information hiding:

"At incidence of the fragment of the reactor in the cooling pond at the Leningrad NPP-2 the pond was later examined. The result was not made public. It just fell down.