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IAEA Reviews Belarus's Emergency Preparedness and Response Framework

Minsk, Belarus

Members of the EPREV team along with counterparts from the Belarusian Ministry for Emergency Situations in Minsk. (Photo Credit: Belarusian Ministry for Emergency Situations).

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts today concluded a 10-day mission to review Belarus’s preparedness and response arrangements for nuclear and radiological emergencies. The Emergency Preparedness Review (EPREV) was carried out at the request of the Government of Belarus.

Belarus is building its first nuclear power reactors, two 1 170 megawatt-electric units of the Russian VVER technology. The mission included a visit to the nuclear power plant (NPP) site at Ostrovets in northern Belarus.

Marina Nizamska, former Head of the Division of Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Bulgarian Nuclear Regulatory Agency (BNRA), led the eight-person review team, which included experts from Finland, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Slovakia, the United States of America, as well as the IAEA.

“The team found that Belarus has solid arrangements in place for emergency preparedness and response. The team also identified areas for further improvement. The outcome of the mission will help Belarus to further enhance its robust preparedness and response framework, in line with the latest applicable IAEA safety standards,” Nizamska said.

“By inviting and hosting this review mission, Belarus has demonstrated commitment to continuously improving its nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response arrangements,” said Juan Carlos Lentijo, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security at the IAEA.

The EPREV team identified several strengths during the mission, including:

  • The management system for nuclear emergencies has been integrated into an all-hazards emergency management system.
  • Belarus has a comprehensive programme for international cooperation on Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR), including for nuclear and radiological events.
  • Authorities have experience and know-how in addressing the long term non-radiological consequences of a nuclear emergency based on the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
  • Good training capabilities for nuclear emergency responders, as well as for other categories of emergency responders, are in place.
  • Good capabilities are available for the treatment of contaminated or overexposed individuals.
  • The NPP at Ostravets has an on-site emergency response centre fitted with features for long term response that allow emergency workers to better implement mitigatory actions.

The review team also highlighted areas where additional progress would be useful to improve national arrangements for nuclear emergencies, including:

  • Further consideration and implementation of the latest IAEA guidance on EPR.
  • Providing more complete guidance on the implementation of emergency response actions by all response organizations.
  • Improving arrangements for the use of the emergency classification system and definition of actions to be taken immediately after the onset of an emergency.
  • Streamlining arrangements for better protection of helpers during a nuclear or radiological emergency.

The Government intends to adopt an action plan to address the findings and to consider inviting an EPREV follow-up mission.

About EPREV Missions

EPREV missions are one of the peer reviews offered by the IAEA to strengthen nuclear safety in Member States. EPREV missions focus on the arrangements and capabilities to prepare for and respond to nuclear and radiological emergencies. EPREV missions are based on the IAEA safety standards in nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness response.

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