Despite the pandemic situation, ENSREG and the Commission as well as their Belarusian counterparts, had worked closely together so that the ongoing peer review of the implementation of the Belarusian nuclear safety action plan could continue as far as possible, still respecting the agreed schedule. As a full mission to Belarus had not been possible in the current COVID situation, the originally scheduled mission which was to have taken place from 14 to 22 December was re-organised into a hybrid mission, comprising both virtual and physical meetings. The hybrid mission included a site visit to the Astravets nuclear power plant by a smaller group of experts, between 16 and 18 December.
On Monday 14 December, the Belarusian nuclear safety regulator informed the Peer Review Team of their inability to hold the necessary preparatory technical meetings with the Peer Review Team as scheduled because some of their experts had been incapacitated by COVID-19.
The ENSREG peer review team considers that the physical visit of the plant must be preceded by the technical preparatory discussions with the Belarusian counterparts. Therefore, the physical visit of the plant had to be postponed, until a new schedule can be agreed with the Belarusian nuclear safety authorities. The peer review Team Leader is in discussion with the Belarusian regulator to see how the peer review mission can be rescheduled, while still respecting the peer review objectives, including completing the peer review of the high priority recommendations before Astravets starts commercial operations.
ENSREG is doing its utmost to ensure the satisfactory and timely completion of the peer review.