The European Commission welcomed on July 3 the completion of the Peer Review Report of the EU Stress Test in Belarus, which was carried out by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG).
The Commission said that the EC looks forward to the next phase of the process and continue working on the proper implementation of the findings.
Reminding that nuclear safety is paramount in the EU, and even more so when new facilities are being built and operating on the EU borders, the Commission said the EC and ENSREG have continually expressed their readiness to work with and support any non-EU country to undertake a comprehensive peer review process and this support has been extended to Belarus.
According to the Commission, the Peer Review Mission to Belarus took place from March 12-16 and was conducted in a constructive working atmosphere and in line with specifications for EU stress test.
This peer review was conducted by a team of 17 experts from EU and non-EU Member States including representatives from countries that use nuclear power as well as from those that do not. The team included also 2 representatives from the Commission and 3 observers. During the peer review, the Belarus nuclear regulatory authority provided detailed responses to a number of written questions from the experts.
“In the spirit of good neighbourly relations all parties worked together constructively during this peer review with the commitment to increase transparency and improve nuclear safety,” the Commission said, adding that the information provided allowed to produce a comprehensive technical evaluation in line with the EU Stress Test scope and ensured an equal treatment for Belarus as regard to other non-EU countries which participated to this peer review process in the past.
The European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group, the Commission said, has now endorsed the Peer Review report, which was presented to the Belarussian authorities in June.
A comprehensive report and detailed recommendations for ensuring nuclear safety in Belarus be published on the ENSREG website together with an executive summary, further to the public event held in Brussels on July 3.
The Commission said the EC considers that this outcome is proof of the pragmatic cooperation and problem-solving spirit of the EU with its neighbouring countries including on nuclear safety matters.
According to the Commission, the report confirms the adequacy of nuclear safety features as established by the national safety regulator at the time of the license in 2014. It also identifies a number of safety features developed since then. In addition, it makes recommendations requiring thorough follow up and continued implementation measures.
The report makes, in particular, an in-depth assessment of the plant in relation to earthquakes, flooding and other extreme weather events, loss of electrical power and ultimate heat sink, and severe accident management.
The Commission called on the Belarusian authorities to develop a National Action Plan, to ensure timely implementation of all safety improvement measures in accordance with their safety significance.
The Commission expressed its willingness to participate in the review of the implementation of the respective measures of the Action Plan. According to the Commission, the Action Plan should be subject to a future independent review. This was done by all EU and non-EU countries, which voluntarily participated in the stress test process since Fukushima.
The Commission said the EC considers nuclear safety cooperation a central topic in the EU’s partnership with Belarus and will continue discussions on the follow-up to the recommendations.