Foreigners to hold key positions at first unit of Belarus' nuclear power plant

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Foreigners will be given key positions at the first of the two units of Belarus' future nuclear power plant, Uladzimir Petrushkevich, an engineer at the project management office, told reporters in Minsk on Tuesday.

Training personnel for a nuclear power plant is rather time-consuming and is impossible without trainees getting some hands-on experience, Mr. Petrushkevich said. Therefore it will be safer to employ foreigners with the necessary expertise to run the first unit of the plant, which is to be put into operation as early as 2016, Mr. Petrushkevich said.

According to him, the unit will employ between 70 and 80 foreigners. The chief engineer and deputy chief engineers and some personnel responsible for the operation of the reactor and other key functions of the plant will all be foreign citizens, Mr. Petrushkevich said.

The government will arrange for citizens of Belarus with experience in the power generation sector and a relevant education to take retraining courses abroad, Mr. Petrushkevich said.

Those applying for training will have to pass rigorous psychological and physiological tests, he said. Training proper will involve taking theoretical and retraining courses in higher educational institutions in Belarus and abroad and then completing apprenticeships, operating equipment under supervision, Mr. Petrushkevich said.
A special training center will be built as part of the power plant by 2013 for the personnel to keep up their skills, he noted.

The training process will end with a certification exam, Mr. Petrushkevich said. Belarus' nuclear and radiation safety regulations require that all stages of this process be completed, he stressed.

Belarus plans to start the construction of the nuclear power plant in 2009 and finish it in 2018. The 2,000-MW plant is supposed to supply some 15 percent of the country’s electricity needs. //BelaPAN

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