by Staff Writers
Minsk (AFP) Aug 11, 2016
Belarus demanded on Thursday that Russia, which is building the country's first nuclear plant, take back a reactor shell after an accident during construction put the ex-Soviet country on edge.
A contractor working for Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom last month was moving the massive steel shell that encases a nuclear reactor when the crane malfunctioned and the structure hit the ground.
The public in Belarus, a country that was severely hit by fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe in Ukraine, pressured President Alexander Lukashenko last week to announce that the shell must be replaced with a new one even if it has "the smallest scratch".
On Thursday Belarus Energy Minister Vladimir Potupchik said a government commission "made the decision to switch the reactor shell" and had sent the relevant demand to the Russian side.
Rosatom has argued that the shell is perfectly safe while Belarusians have accused authorities of covering up the July 10 accident, which went unreported for two weeks.
The incident came to light only after local activists expressed concern that the structure was no longer safe.
Rosatom's deputy chief Alexander Lozhkin was quoted by the agency as saying that the 330-tonne shell had merely "touched" the ground after sliding down from a four-meter height.
The plant -- which is being built in the western Belarusian town of Ostrovets, around 10 kilometres (six miles) from the Lithuanian border -- has been under construction since 2013. It is set to launch the first of its two 1,200 megawatt reactors in 2018.
Lithuania had already expressed concern about the project.
Nuclear Power News - Nuclear Science, Nuclear Technology
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|