State news agency Belta quoted the ministry of energy’s press secretary, Olga Kozlovich, as saying 163 fuel assemblies were loaded into the reactor and “physical startup operations are now underway”.
The reactor will be brought to its minimum controlled power level so further tests can be carried out alongside a gradual increase in the power level.
Two Russia-supplied Generation III VVER-1200 reactor units are under construction at the Ostrovets site. Construction of Unit 1 began in November 2013 and of Unit 2 in April 2014.
Belarusian energy minister Viktor Karankevich said recently that commercial operation of Unit 1 is planned for the first quarter of 2021.