30 September 2020, Wednesday, 9:32
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Hack Work and Russian Standards at the BelNPP

Hack Work and Russian Standards at the BelNPP
Valery Karbalevich

What consequences will the future bring?

Another scandal erupted at the NPP construction site. A criminal case under Article 252 (commercial bribery) was initiated against Dmitry Zinoviev, the head of the ventilation and firefighting system of the Russian Atomstroyexport. According to the information of NEXTA Telegram-channel, he received a bribe for installation of ventilation units and fire-retention valves without passing the control at the BelNPP. As a result, there may be defects in this equipment, which may "lead to malfunctions in the system".

For Russian companies, this situation is normal. No project is being implemented there without "kickbacks", especially when it comes to construction for budgetary funds. For example, the Sochi Olympics cost $50 billion, which is 10 times more than in other countries that hosted the Winter Games.

One can assume that the Belarusian NPP is built according to the same scheme. Now the villain is caught red-handed by the KGB. How many "kickbacks" were not noticed? How much hack work has already been done? Didn't the Belarusian authorities know about such rules of Russian contractors when they launched this project? What consequences will the future bring?

It will be recalled that the first power unit was originally planned to be put into operation in 2016, then it was postponed to 2018, and then to 2019. Now it will happen in early 2020. Just on the eve of the presidential elections. This will be the main PR campaign of candidate Lukashenka. One of the outstanding achievements of his leadership is that Belarus has become a nuclear power. Therefore, the construction will be catalyzed to catch up with the elections. (Let me remind you that the construction of the Chernobyl NPP was also catalyzed to meet the next anniversary of the October Revolution.)

But this is not the only problem. September 24, during the meeting with Director General of the State Corporation "Rosatom" Alexei Likhachev, Prime Minister of Belarus Siarhei Rumas admitted that there were "controversial moments" in relations with the Russian partners. "The main thing is that we should clearly define what prevents us from implementing the plans that have been outlined for the key stages," the head of the Belarusian government said.

"And there are many disputable moments. Belarus asks Russia to reduce the lending rate, given by the Russian Federation for the construction of the NPP (up to $10 billion) and extends the term of its payment from 25 to 35 years. Moscow provides no answer.

The situation with the issue of nuclear waste from the NPP, which both sides are trying to hide from the public, is even more scandalous. The thing is that the intergovernmental agreement between Belarus and Russia on the construction of the Belarusian NPP of 2011 provided for the conclusion of a separate agreement on the export of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) to Russia for reprocessing. Nuclear fuel is about to be delivered to the plant, but there is no SNF agreement. Moscow refuses to sign it. One can guess that the Kremlin manipulate this topic, as well as the issues of gas, oil and loans, to promote the integration.

There are other problems. It's not decided what to do with the electricity, produced by the NPP. According to the latest reports, Ukraine is ready to buy some amount of electricity. But this is far from solving the problem of excess energy. To solve this problem, the country should invest money it does not have.

Thus, today it is already obvious that the construction of the NPP generates more problems than solves.

Valery Karbalevich, Radio Svaboda