Core Catcher Installation To Begin As Belarus Units Remain ‘On Schedule’

By David Dalton
27 November 2014

27 Nov (NucNet): Installation of the core catcher for the Belarusian-2 nuclear power plant at Ostrovets in western Belarus will begin in March 2015 with the construction of both units at the site remaining on schedule, the operating company Belarus Nuclear Power Plant said.

The core catcher is already being installed at Belarusian-1 with completion expected in the coming months. The core catcher is a device provided to catch the molten core material (corium) of a nuclear reactor in case of a nuclear meltdown and prevent it from escaping the containment.

Construction of Belarusian-1 and Belarusian-2, both Russian-supplied 1,109-megawatt VVER V-491 pressurised water reactor units, is proceeding according to plan with commercial operation of Unit 1 scheduled for 2018 and Unit 2 for 2020, Belarus Nuclear Power Plant said.

Construction of the above-ground section of the Unit 1 reactor building is now past the 9.4-metre mark and will reach 22 metres by the end of the year, with 33,000 tonnes of reinforcement bars installed and 183,000 cubic metres of concrete poured.

Belarus Nuclear Power Plant also said the number of construction personnel onsite in December will grow to 3,500, more than twice the number onsite at the beginning of the year.

Belarusian media reported that the cost of the two units will not exceed $11 billion. In June 2009 Belarus announced that $9 billion of Russian financing had been arranged and said the cost of the units was estimated at $10 billion.

Meanwhile, Belarus’s foreign minister Vladimir Makei met International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Yukiya Amano and said the two had agreed areas for “further cooperation” on nuclear energy and construction. Mr Makei said Belarus wants to make use of IAEA technical assistance for first-time nuclear nations.

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