BALAKOVO NPP OPERATES IN NORMAL MODE, SAYS ROSATOM HEAD

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MOSCOW, Nov 6 (RIA Novosti) - The nuclear power plant in Balakovo, where a power unit was stopped for maintenance, operates in a normal mode, Alexander Rumyantsev, the head of the Federal Nuclear Power Agency (Rosatom), told RIA Novosti.

"The nuclear power plant in Balakovo is now operating in a normal mode, and this incident is a bright confirmation of safety of using nuclear power, as all automatics worked without failures," said the head of the agency.

Alexander Rumyantsev said all rumors in regard to radiation emission were groundless.

"The incident in the engine room has nothing to do with nuclear problems," said Mr. Rumyantsev. He noted that "according to the international scale of incidents on nuclear power plants, this event is just not taken into account at all."

"As soon as failures appeared in the system of the steam pipe, we immediately informed Gosatomnadzor and mass media," said Mr. Rumyantsev. In this regard, he stressed, "information hooliganism" started - "anonymous web sites appeared which intensified hysteria giving deliberately false data."

In Mr. Rumyantsev's words, "if any worst-case situation threatening citizens' health takes place, all relevant statements will be voiced immediately and first of all by the Federal Agency."

"The first information will always originate from us. Only truth at first hand is the means that can calm down the public," said Mr. Rumyantsev.

In his turn, the general director of the Rosenergoatom concern, Oleg Sarayev, noted that defects of the off-optimum situation on the second power unit at the Balakovo plant had long been removed. Similar sections on other units of the NPP are being checked now.

He stressed that the IAEA did not demand that its inspectors be allowed to check.

"Should this demand be received, we are ready to allow specialists at any time for them to hold relevant checks," concluded Mr. Sarayev.

On Thursday, November 4, a leakage of pure desalinated water feeding steam generators of the Balakovo NPP's second power unit was discovered. As a result, the power unit was stopped for maintenance work on the pipeline.

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