26 February 2020, Wednesday, 9:15
The Wait Is Nearly Over

Are You Saying Belarusian NPP Is Ready For Launch?

Are You Saying Belarusian NPP Is Ready For Launch?

There are more than a hundred atomic construction projects in the world, which were curtailed at the very final stages.

On the Internet you can read: ''BelNPP is ready for launch''. So, will this launch happen or not? The question is very serious. And there is no unequivocal answer to it. It would be reasonable to first ask the question: was it really worth building this nuclear power plant? And all the more, how reasonable it was to choose the VVER-1200 variant for this?

International practice requires that in any construction of a nuclear power plant, it is reasonable to choose a reference variant of the proposed type of nuclear power plant. In this case, this is the option implemented by the developer country on its territory and tested for a number of years in order to refine and eliminate the detected defects. For NPP-1200, the block 6, built at the Novovoronezh NPP, could become a reference.

However, the fate of this block turned out to be typical for a number of blocks launched in the recent years. On the night of November 10-11, 2016, after numerous attempts of bringing to design capacity, the 6th block of the Novovoronezh NPP failed. A burnt generator couldn't be recovered. The entire electrical system of the unit failed. The announcement of this was received only on November 16. Essential in this case was the fact that this particular block was supposed to be reference for a number of blocks for which construction contracts had already been concluded in a number of countries, including Belarus.

Consequently, there is no reference block for the VVER-1200 reactor unit under construction in Belarus. And Rosatom had no right to build it outside its country. A similar unit in Novovoronezh was able to work at the level of projected power for only two weeks. The fact that the block in Novovoronezh was supposed to be launched as early as 2012, and the attempt to launch it happened only four years later, is essential.

Can we talk about the reliability of this unit and try to start it now in Belarus?

Moreover, it should be taken into account that during the construction of the Belarusian NPP there were many failures, including even the fall of the reactor vessel onto the concrete surface of the construction site. All this reveals the low quality of work and the inadequate level of qualifications of the working staff.

Attention is paid only to the unavailability of the country's energy system to the introduction of power units with such a high unit capacity into it. This is a very significant point preventing the launch of atomic blocks. But not the only one.

In addition to a number of the problems listed above, one should pay attention to yet another issue that directly affects every inhabitant of our country. They are trying hard to convince us that nuclear power will provide us with cheap energy. But this is a hoax. Firstly, the electricity generated at nuclear power plants is at least five times more expensive than the energy generated by thermal plants. Secondly, the need to significantly increase the so-called hot reserve to the power level of the atomic unit introduced into the system will play a significant role here. A hot reserve is the actually idle energy sources designed to neutralize the emergency outage of any energy source entering the system. Today it is 300 MW. The introduction of one more nuclear unit into the system will require an increase in the capacity of the hot reserve to 1200 MW, that is, the power of idle sources of energy must be increased from 300 to 1200 MW. The loss of energy thus increases by 4 times. But, what should be emphasized, the allocation to the hot reserve of such capacity with the existing structure of the country's power system will be impossible. Additional construction of more heat sources of electricity will be required. And this is an additional cost, and the loss of several years.

Taking into account the higher cost of electricity generated by nuclear power plants, as well as the need to increase the capacity of the hot reserve, each resident of our country will have to pay twice as much for the power of one NPP block, and three times more for the second block to start up.

Now we should think about whether it is worthwhile to start up the NPP blocks under construction both for safety reasons and for economic reasons.

But again, these are not the only problems. Back in 1993, the Academy of Sciences of Belarus completed the work on a very interesting topic: ''Carrying out a complex of works on finding possible locations for NPPs (potential sites) in the territory of the Republic of Belarus''. Of all the sites considered, it was recognized:

- confidently favorable - 15;

- favorable - 7;

- unfavorable - 6.

The most unfavorable set of characteristics has the site 44 - Astravets. With regard to it, the following was defined: ''The structural node of the intersection of regional crust fractures (Ashmyany and submeridial), is showing tectonic activity to the present. The epicenter of an earthquake with an intensity of up to 7 points was registered in the immediate vicinity of the center of the site in question''. This makes it very likely that earthquakes will repeat.

Such set of characteristics of the site 44 - Astravets - allowed to classify it as the most unfavorable and dangerous of all the sites considered. This first of all leads to the conclusion that the construction of any hazardous facility on this site is unacceptable, and a nuclear power plant first of all.

From all this it follows that the construction of nuclear power plants in Belarus does not make any sense. So why bring this unreasonable action to an unreasonable end?

There are more than a hundred atomic construction projects in the world, which were curtailed at the very final stages. Isn't it better for us to stop in good time?

Heorhi Lepin, Svobodnye Novosti