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20 April 2022

Chernobyl experience at heart of Belarus’ nuclear safety

Chernobyl’s experience is used as the foundation for ensuring the country’s nuclear safety. Zoya Trafimchik, Deputy Head of the Radiation Monitoring Service, Head of the Radiation Monitoring Department at the state institution National Center for Hydrometeorology, Radioactive Contamination Control, and Environmental Monitoring (Belhydromet) of the Belarusian Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry, made the statement at a meeting of BelTA’s Expert Community project held on 20 April to discuss “Chernobyl – a land where people can live. Belarusian experience of revival and development of polluted territories”.

Zoya Trafimchik said: “Chernobyl’s experience is used as a very powerful foundation for ensuring nuclear and radiation safety of Belarus. International missions have worked in the country to check whether Belarus’ infrastructure was ready and how well safety is secured. Belhydromet in association with the Chernobyl Catastrophe Consequences Committee, the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor), the Emergencies Ministry, and the Healthcare Ministry has positively evaluated accident preparedness of our country. I cannot but point out that it happened thanks to the post-Chernobyl contribution of collectives and colleagues from Gomel.”

Zoya Trafimchik noted that the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Ministry and the National Center for Hydrometeorology, Radioactive Contamination Control, and Environmental Monitoring are authorized by law to conduct radiation monitoring. The observation system is well-systematized and well-designed. “Regretfully, systemic monitoring all over the country was prompted by the Chernobyl catastrophe. This is why while radiation monitoring of the environment (air, surface water and underground water, soils) employed eight stations in the 1960s, at present 120 observation stations monitor all the environmental objects. A lot of work is being done to monitor and control not only Chernobyl-affected territories but the entire country – strontium, cesium, plutonium, americium, iodine, and other substances. But if you and I looked at these 120 sites on the map, we would see that practically 50% of the radiation monitoring stations are located in Chernobyl-affected territories primarily in Gomel Oblast, Mogilev Oblast, and Brest Oblast,” the official stressed.

Observation stations have already been deployed in the affected zone of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Three stations monitor water and four stations monitor soil and air. The organization regularly collects samples and monitors indicators. “Only the first unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant has been commissioned but we already conduct surveys and monitoring in order to be sure of the stability of the situation,” Zoya Trafimchik said.

BelTA – News from Belarus