Vasil Nestsiarenka: Belarus will not survive another atomic disaster

2007 2007-03-07T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”


Belarus is exploring the second construction site for the atomic power plant. Head of the Academy of sciences Mikhal Miasnikovich named the Schklou-Horki district as a place for exploratory work. More precise location is not given to avoid the disturbance of the local population. Scientists and experts now are still studying the experience of states, which are the leaders in atomic power engineering, but the construction has been already planned to start in 2008. Former director of the Institute for nuclear power engineering Vasil Nestsiarenka told Deutsche Welle how the reduction of the construction term would affect the security.

’Nine years ago there were hot debates in the Belarusian government on the subject of relevancy of the atomic power station construction in Belarus. After detailed consideration of all security aspects we came to the conclusion that there was no competent staff in Belarus. There was no infrastructure, no fuel, and no storages. And moreover, there wasn’t any safety type of a reactor. Ten years passed and such reactor didn’t appear. I assess the technology as highly risky,’ the former director of the Institute for nuclear power engineering and creator of a small-sized atomic power plant Vasil Nestsiarenka said.

According to him, Belarus won’t be able to find the money in its budget for construction of a normal safety atomic power plant. And the station won’t repay its expenses in a short period of time. The government speaks of USD 2.5-3 billion demanded for the construction.

But Vasil Nestsiarenka says: ˜I consider that if the two blocks are to be erected it will cost no less than USD 10 billion. The equipment itself will cost over USD 5 billion plus the same amount of infrastructure expenses.’

Previously the 9-year period was determined for the atomic power plant construction. But according to A.Lukashenka’s order it is to be completed in 4-5 years. How will the reduction of construction term and thrifty financing affect the security of the station?

’Chernobyl was also built in short terms but there are some industries in which it is obligatory to observe the technological and temporal requirements. Here we mustn’t be in a hurry, because if quality standards are not observed it will result in disasters similar to Chernobyl,’ Vasil Nestsiarenka considers.

The question how many years are required for building of the atomic power plant with observation of the necessary safety measures was answered by the expert in the following way:

’12-15 years is a minimal term. It can’t be shorter. Training of the staff for such station takes 10 years. Development of the infrastructure has not started yet. And what about the wastes? Nobody knows now how to store the high active wastes more for than 50-70 years. It is a weak point of the atomic power engineering. There is no fuel either. The fuel cycle is so expensive that only extremely rich countries can afford it. I guess that we shall run to Russia for the fuel. And what about our independence then? And construction of the atomic power plant implies emergency cases. Belarus will not survive another atomic disaster.’

In 1986 Vasil Nestsiarenka was the first to warn about the necessity of iodine preventive measures and population removal from 100 kilometer zone around the Chernobyl reactor. Now he is at the head of the Belgrad non-state institute of radiation security. Until now devices of the institute show 50 Bc/kg contamination of mushrooms in the zone and the accumulated radionuclide doze is 20 times higher than the standard.

’We will have been dealing with it for dozens of years. And cesium splits very slowly, around 1-2 mm a year. It is accumulated at the root level. The contamination will remain for another 30-40 years starting with today. And people continue working there, they produce goods and try to sell them and it is spreading over the republic as the locust,’ Vasil Nestsiarenka remarks.

According to Nestsiarenka, the government of Belarus has no right to implement such risky technologies. He considers that among the alternative power technologies suitable for Belarus are wind power and biomass engineering: ’If the state invested the same amount into these technologies as it is going to invest into the APS the success would be great’.