Meeting to discuss completion of BelNPP construction, measures to increase availability of electricity for house heating

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Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko received a report on the completion of the BelNPP construction and measures to increase the availability of electricity for house heating on 31 October.

“The topic of our meeting today is the nuclear power plant. All the construction and commissioning works have been finished. The plant is operating at its full capacity, scheduled preventive maintenance and other activities are carried out as required by the regulations. The safety of our plant is the number one issue,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized that even the smallest details need to be considered in full. Belarus has always been extremely serious about the matter. Rosatom should understand this perfectly well. We are a country which suffered from the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Even the slightest indulgence in the construction of a nuclear power plant is unacceptable for us. People will never forgive us such mistakes. That is why we have such strict requirements on various details,” the head of state said.

“As far as I am informed, the main nodes, including this 'nuclear island', are fine. It functions, it works. The rest needs to be polished and brought into compliance,” the President instructed.

He asked the participants of the event to report on the readiness of BelNPP and, especially, its second unit.

"The commissioning of the nuclear power plant was delayed because of the Russian side. Naturally, according to the contract, we raised the issue of compensation. There is no need to hide it. There is nothing extraordinary. We raised this issue as the deadlines were not met and the Russian side was responsible for this. They offered us options in terms of the price for fresh nuclear fuel at the level of Russian domestic prices and also in terms of the warranty period (for five years for the main units)," the head of state said.

"I would like to hear your opinion whether this satisfies the Belarusian side (I do not think we should be over-demanding. After all we do produce enough electricity. But still a contract is a contract) and whether the concessions made by the Russians, Rosatom, are enough for the Belarusian side," the Belarusian leader added.  

According to the head of state, the country's electricity output has increased thanks to the commissioning of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP). “We had enough electricity in general, and for industry, and for agriculture and for people to a certain extent. I would not say we get excessive [volumes of electricity] today. We get reserves,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

In his words, electricity consumption will be growing, and people will get support in this regard. For example, more electricity will be used to heat homes. “The focus is on people. We have recently taken a look at the heating service in a rural settlement [in Novaya Okolitsa near Minsk], which construction is supervised by Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Sivak. I should say it is simply great – clean and neat. It is much better than gas boilers and heating. I am not even talking about coal and so on. The climate is changing, it is very important for us,” the President said.

The head of state emphasized that the use of electricity for heating homes is not only profitable but it is also a clean and safe technology.

“Therefore, it was the right decision to offer electricity to people. Prices are affordable. People say that it is even cheaper than gas heating. These are incomparable things. But somewhere we fall short in terms of networks [the capacity to provide such an opportunity to everyone who needs it],” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. Currently we cannot satisfy some 10-15% of relevant requests from citizens.

The head of state said that systematic work was being carried out to solve the matter. Although much has been done, it is still not enough - there is a sharp increase in demand from the population.

“We need to extend the networks. Roughly speaking, this wire needs to reach people’s houses. We need to do this since we have promised our people. Yes, the demand has increased dramatically. People understand that this is a very profitable matter. We have enough electricity. We need to help our people. We live and work for helping our people,” the Belarusian leader said.

He asked to report on the current situation in the matter and its prospects. The issue of expanding the use of electric transport is also high on the agenda. “We are gradually developing our electric transport. This is also the right thing to do. We decided to develop this area just in time,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The President added that, despite the country has reserves, it is undesirable for other capacities to be idle or operate in the so-called cold mode. He cited the Bereza and Lukoml state district power stations as examples. The head of state was said that there were options to use them to the full. “There are options for loading them and these options are very favorable for the state. We need to continue working in this regard,” the Belarusian leader said.