ARKANSAS, Oct 19 (Future Headlines)- Russia’s TVEL and the Belarusian Organisation for Radioactive Waste Management have entered into a significant and long-term cooperation agreement, aiming to create and develop infrastructure for the final isolation of radioactive waste in Belarus. This collaboration is a part of Belarus’s broader Radioactive Waste Management Strategy, which includes the construction of a radioactive waste disposal facility. As Belarus’s first nuclear power plant nears completion, this cooperation is pivotal for the safe and sustainable development of nuclear energy in the country.

The recently established cooperation agreement between Russia’s TVEL and the Belarusian Organisation for Radioactive Waste Management signifies the commitment to strengthening bilateral ties in various areas, with a primary focus on radioactive waste management. Eduard Nikitin, director of decommissioning programs at TVEL, expressed their mutual interest in a wide range of collaborative efforts. Nikitin noted that the agreement aims to create a radioactive waste disposal facility that aligns with the requirements of the European Union Environmental Taxonomy.

The construction of this facility is significant for the sustainability of nuclear energy in Belarus, contributing to its long-term development and operation. TVEL has expressed its readiness to share its extensive and successful experience in radioactive waste management with its Belarusian colleagues, promoting a safer and more sustainable nuclear energy future.

In addition to the cooperation agreement between TVEL and the Belarusian Organisation for Radioactive Waste Management, Rosatom and the Belarus Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Andrey Khudyk, have signed a memorandum of understanding. This memorandum outlines a strategic partnership focusing on various aspects of environmental protection, including the management, processing, and disposal of hazardous waste. Furthermore, the agreement covers environmental monitoring and efforts to eliminate accumulated environmental damage.

Khudyk emphasized Belarus’s commitment to preserving its unique natural environment, and this partnership with Rosatom plays a pivotal role in achieving a low-carbon future. Collaborating on environmental protection issues, especially in the field of hazardous industrial waste management and addressing accumulated environmental damage, provides a solid foundation for long-term sustainability.

Andrei Lebedev, Rosatom director overseeing environmental programs, expressed the company’s dedication to bringing its skills and extensive experience to this partnership. The collaboration aims to create a common position based on the principles of a circular economy. This entails the development and exchange of innovative technological solutions, with a strong emphasis on the development of human resources to address environmental challenges. The commitment to a circular economy signifies the shared vision of creating sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions in waste management and environmental protection.

Belarus’s first nuclear power plant, located in Ostrovets, is in the final stages of completion. The first power unit was connected to the grid in November 2020, and the second unit recently underwent a trial connection to the grid in May. Both units are equipped with Russian VVER-1200 reactors. Once fully commissioned, the plant is expected to produce approximately 18.5 TWh of electricity annually. This production is equivalent to 4.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas, with an estimated annual economic impact of around USD 550 million for Belarus.

As Belarus advances in nuclear energy production, it is also making strides in the management of radioactive waste. Earlier this year, Belarus’s Energy Minister Victor Karankevich announced the country’s goal to put the first stage of a radioactive waste storage facility into operation by 2030. This initiative demonstrates Belarus’s dedication to addressing the waste management needs associated with its growing nuclear energy sector.

The cooperation agreement between TVEL, the Belarusian Organisation for Radioactive Waste Management, and the memorandum of understanding with Rosatom underscore the commitment to safe and sustainable nuclear energy development in Belarus. By addressing radioactive waste management and environmental protection, Belarus takes significant steps towards achieving a low-carbon, environmentally responsible future while ensuring the success of its nuclear power plant. The partnership between Russia’s expertise and Belarus’s aspirations is set to create a positive impact on the country’s nuclear energy and environmental landscape.

Editing by Sarah White