Belarus 'could be a world leader in nuclear energy share'

21 December 2023

Belarus is considering building a second nuclear power plant, or a third unit at its existing one, and could become one of the leading countries in terms of the proportion of its energy being nuclear-generated, Energy Minister Viktor Karankevich has said.

(Image: Belta)

According to the official Belta news agency, Karankevich noted that, with the commissioning of the second unit at the country's first plant, more than a quarter of Belarus's electricity is now generated by nuclear, and only five countries get more than 40% of their total generation from nuclear.

He said that a decision on more nuclear would depend on evaluation of future electricity consumption: "The construction of the second nuclear power plant or the third unit [of the existing nuclear power plant] is under consideration now ... experts and government agencies are now looking into the matter and are preparing rationalising materials. We are looking into organisational, technical, and economic matters.”

"We intend to reach 44 billion kWh of electricity in 2025. By 2030 we have to reach 47 billion kWh ... as we decide in favour of the second nuclear power plant or the third unit, we have to analyse the year 2040 instead of 2030 or 2035. We have to evaluate how the manufacturing sector will develop, how much electricity Belarusian households will use, how electricity consumption volumes will change."

In a press conference at Belta he said that the energy produced by the two units at the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant was about 55 million kWh of electricity a day. He also said that tours of the plant were proving increasingly popular, with 3,500 visitors in 2022.

The Belarus nuclear power plant is located in Ostrovets in the Grodno region. A general contract for the construction was signed in 2011, with first concrete in November 2013. Rosatom began construction of unit 2 in May 2014. There are now six VVER-1200 reactors in operation in total, with four in Russia. The first Ostrovets power unit was connected to the grid in November 2020 and, the energy ministry says, the plant will produce about 18.5 TWh of electricity per year, equivalent to 4.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas, with an annual effect on the country's economy of about USD550 million. The second unit was put into commercial operation on 1 November.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News