The IAEA delivered the final reports of Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) missions to nuclear newcomers Belarus and Egypt on the side lines of the 64th IAEA General Conference this week. The expert peer review missions reviewed infrastructure development for both countries' new nuclear power programmes.
Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy handed over the INIR Phase 3 mission report on 21 September 2020 to Victor Karankevich, Minister of Energy of Belarus. On 24 September, Chudakov delivered the final report of the INIR Phase 2 Mission to Ambassador Mohamed El-Molla, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations in Vienna.
Belarus's first nuclear power plant
Belarus, seeking to diversify its energy production with a reliable low-carbon source, engaged with the Russian Federation to construct and commission two VVER-1200 pressurised water reactors at Ostrovets, about 130 kilometers north-west of the capital Minsk. Last month, Belarus completed fuel loading in the first unit, which is expected to begin commercial operations in the coming months.
The 12-day INIR mission took place at the end of February 2020 at the invitation of the Government of Belarus. The INIR report, which Belarus agreed to make available on the IAEA website, states that the country is close to completing the required infrastructure for starting operation of its first nuclear power plant. It includes recommendations and suggestions aimed at assisting the country in making further progress ahead of commissioning the first reactor.
Egypt's steps towards nuclear power
In November 2019, the IAEA conducted an 11-day INIR mission to Egypt at the invitation of the Government to review the country's nuclear infrastructure development and make recommendations and suggestions to help Egypt move the programme forward.
Egypt has engaged a contractor to construct and commission four 1200 MWe pressurized water reactors at the El-Dabaa site on the Mediterranean coast, about 150 kilometers west of Alexandria.
UAE connects to the grid
Last month, the United Arab Emirates connected to the grid the first of its four planned nuclear power reactors at the Barakah nuclear power plant and started producing electricity. The APR 1400 reactor is expected to enter into commercial operation later this year.
Around 30 countries are currently considering or embarking on nuclear power and working with the IAEA to introduce this reliable, low carbon energy source in a safe, secure and sustainable way. The IAEA supports them with advice and capacity building under the Milestones Approach, which enables the sound development of a nuclear power programme across three phases and 19 nuclear infrastructure issues. Newcomer countries can also benefit from services such as INIR missions, which provide an independent perspective on the development of the necessary infrastructure for a nuclear power programme.
The Ostrovets Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus under construction. (Photo: Ministry of Energy, Belarus)
About INIR Missions
The INIR service, based on the IAEA's Milestones Approach, assists both embarking countries and those that are expanding their on nuclear power programmes in ensuring that the infrastructure required for the safe, secure and sustainable use of nuclear power is developed in a responsible and orderly manner.
INIR missions enable IAEA Member State representatives to have in-depth discussions with international experts about conditions and best international practices in the development of a nuclear power programme. In developing its recommendations, the INIR team considers the comments made by the relevant national organizations. Implementation of any of the team's recommendations is at the discretion of the Member State requesting the mission. The IAEA publishes the INIR mission report on its website 90 days after its delivery to the Member State, unless the State requests in writing that the IAEA not do so.