The nuclear reactor that Russia offers to build in Belarus is regarded as unsafe, Igor Shkradyuk, an expert with the Moscow-based International Social and Energy Community, said in an interview with BelaPAN.
Russia’s contractor that is expected to build a nuclear power plant in western Belarus plans to use the type of reactor that has been in operation since the 1960s and "despite certain technical changes, still leaves a possibility of explosion,"Dr. Shkradyuk said.
Referring to a 1985 nuclear submarine accident involving the same type of reactor, the expert said that the reactor had exploded after it had been stopped for fuel replacement. "And a planned shutdown of the future Belarusian nuclear power plant’s reactor is inevitable because of its peculiarity," he warned.
Dr. Shkradyuk noted that one nuclear reactor would account for 12 percent of all electricity generated in Belarus and its planned or emergency shutdown could hit the entire power grid hard.
The construction of the nuclear power plant will not reduce Belarus’ energy dependence on Russia, which will supply uranium to the plant, the expert said. The supply of the nuclear fuel is expected to drop in the next few years and its price is projected to rise sharply, he explained.
Dr. Shkradyuk noted that it was important for Belarus to ensure that the plant’s spent fuel is stored in Russia. The latter also should pledge to dismantle the plant after it reaches the end of its service life, he said.