“On 23 October the Board of the Emergencies Ministry [Gosatomnadzor] decided in favour of amending the licence of the state enterprise Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant to carry out activities in the area of usage of nuclear energy and sources of ionising radiation,” a statement said.
“The amendments will allow the enterprise to start launching the first energy unit,” it added.
Gosatomnadzor said it had reviewed an expert evaluation of safety documents and checked the readiness of the plant for operation. The board’s decision was based on this review.
Earlier this month the Russia-supplied plant, a Generation III VVER-1200, was brought to its minimum controlled power level and achieved first criticality. First fuel loading was completed in August 2020.
Construction of Belarusian-1 began in November 2013 and of the identical Belarusian-2 in April 2014. Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom is the general contractor for both plants.
Belarusian energy minister Viktor Karankevich said recently that commercial operation of Belarusian-1 was planned for the first quarter of 2021.
Belarusian news reports said the Moscow centre of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) recently completed the final stage of a prelaunch inspection at Belarusian-1.