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Nuclear Energy Governance: Important Lessons from Russia and Belarus


Russia is home to one of the most mature and successful national nuclear energy industries in the world. Its experience provides valuable insights into nuclear energy governance with regards to state capacity, regulatory environment, safety culture, industry evolution and adaptation to international rules and norms. Despite the negative effect of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident on the reputation of the entire nuclear energy complex, Russia was able to introduce policies and regulations for avoiding serious emergencies, improve the sector’s safety culture, and recover its damaged reputation. Today, it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of Russia’s nuclear energy governance system as it is the leading international vendor of nuclear energy technology, constructing the majority of nuclear power plants abroad (33 reactors in 12 countries).

Belarus is one of the recipients of Russian nuclear technology with two nuclear reactors (VVER-1200) to be commissioned by December 2019 and July 2020. For Belarus, this is the first nuclear project, but its experience is especially interesting because the plant is located only about 50km from Vilnius, the capital of neighbouring Lithuania. The plant’s close proximity to Lithuania’s largest population centre has been a major source of concern for the country. Lithuania’s apprehension has been further exacerbated by lack of consultation on the part of Belarus during the site selection process as well as poor safety track record (over 10 incidents) during the construction of the plant. Despite these bilateral tensions, Belarus is in compliance with international norms and regulations, and construction of the power plant is nearing completion.

28 May 2019

15:00 – 16:45

ESI Conference Room
Energy Studies Institute
29 Heng Mui Keng Terrace
Block A, #10-01
Singapore 119620  


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Dr Elena Reshetova is a Research Fellow at the Energy Studies Institute, NUS. She has several years of experience researching energy policy-making at the national and international levels. Her research interests include political and economic risk analysis, challenges and opportunities in integrating sustainable energy resources into national energy systems. Elena has been a member of the ESI-CIL Nuclear Governance Project team since January 2018, contributing research on national regulatory and policy frameworks of nuclear power countries and newcomers. She holds a PhD in Public Policy from NUS and an MA in International Affairs from Boston University. 

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