Russia plans to build «evolutionary» reactor in Belarus

The nuclear reactor that Russia plans to build in Belarus will be evolutionary and incorporate technologies of China’s Tianwan plant, Konstantin Ilyinsky, a representative of St. Petersburg's Atomenergoproyekt institute that designs nuclear power facilities, said in an interview with BelaPAN on the sidelines of a nuclear industry exhibition in Minsk.

"Major equipment has no engineering changes and the justification takes into account the plant’s long service life,” Mr. Ilyinsky said. “These are time-tested decisions and we often use them with some elaborations.”

Russia plans to build the VVER-1200 water-moderated reactor in Belarus. The Tianwan plant uses the Russian standard reactor type VVER-1000/392.

Mr. Ilyinsky confirmed that the VVER-1200 type had never put into operation before. “As for the reactor’s active zone, it will be the first of its kind in operation, but it is based on technologies that have already been used at other plants,” he said.

Aleksandr Chetverikov, an expert of Russia’s OAO Gidropress agency that will built the reactor for Belarus, told BelaPAN that the unit would be safe.

His colleague, Gennady Banyuk, noted that the designers had decided against sticking to «excessive conservatism.” “This has made it possible to increase the capacity, productivity and efficiency coefficient of the unit,” he said, stressing that nothing had been changed at the expense of safety.

Russia’s surveillance authorities that allowed the agency in the past to build two similar units for Russian plants have confirmed the safety of the Belarusian reactor, he added.