Rosatom: Belarus' nuclear plant launch may be delayed by 6 months

The replacement of the reactor's casing at the Belarusian nuclear power plant will delay the launch of the first reactor block by at least six months, Rosatom's First Deputy Head Alexander Lakshin told eporters on the sidelines of World Nuclear Association (WNA) Symposium 2016 in London.

“It sets us backward for at least half a year or even more in terms of the timline," he said commenting on the situation with the replacement of the reactor's casing. “We are in conversations with the customer to approve a new schedule, which will show how much the the launch will be shifted,” the Russian state news agency TASS quotes Lakshin as saying.

He explained that there are no problems with selecting another casing. "We are in the final stages of building the No2 reactor for the same power plant," Lakshin reminded. He also noted that another option could be to pick the casing built for the Baltic nuclear plant in Russia.

The casing of the No 1 reactor, which Belarus has asked to replace, can be used for other projects and "in terms of nuclear safety, we have not doubts about it," the Rosatom top manager stressed. For example, the casing can be used at the Leningrad nuclear power plant.

The reactor casing at the Belarusian nuclear plant in Astraviec fell during the trial mounting exercise. The 330 tons assembly slipped from the harness fell on the ground from several meters high. The incident occurred on July 10 but the authoirities refused to comment on the situation for more than two weeks. Media frenzy helped draw attention, forcing the government to take the decision to replace the dropped casing despite the assurances that the casing kept its integrity.