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Astravas Nuclear Power Plant case reopened in Geneva

2016-03-16

At its yesterday’s session in Geneva, the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee evaluated what actions Belarus had taken to bring the Astravas Nuclear Power Plant project in line with the requirements of this Convention and how it had complied with the recommendations presented at the June 2014 meeting of the Parties to the Convention. The recommendations stated in particular that Belarus should continue the environmental impact assessment process and answer Lithuania’s questions.

The Belarusian and Lithuanian delegations were invited to the meeting in Geneva. They presented their reports and answered questions from members of the Implementation Committee. According to Vitalijus Auglys, head of our country’s delegation and Director of the Pollution Prevention Department of the Ministry of Environment, the Lithuanian representatives stressed that Belarus had committed substantial breaches with respect to the content and procedures of the Espoo Convention. Therefore, in accordance with this Convention, the construction of the Astravas Nuclear Power Plant is assessed as illegal. Belarus persists in failing to provide answers to Lithuania’s essential questions on the nuclear safety of the Astravas Nuclear Power Plant and the plant’s impact on the environment and the population of our country. The choice of the construction site for the nuclear plant raises particularly great doubts to our country.

Yesterday, the Belarusian representatives provided no new information to dispel the doubts about the potential risks and threats to the Lithuanian population and environment.

On analysing the information of Belarus and Lithuania, the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee will take a decision in the immediate future on the way for examining the Astravas Nuclear Power Plant case. Having evaluated the complexity of this case and the nature of the questions raised by Lithuania, the members of the Committee have proposed involving international experts who would help to examine this case. Our country has approved of this proposal.

Communication Division
16.03.2016


Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas