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Demand to stop the construction of the Astraviec NPP to be discussed with EU Environment Ministers

2017-02-27

Lithuania’s repeated demand that Belarus should stop the construction of the Astraviec Nuclear Power Plant is one of the most important themes for our country which Kęstutis Navickas, Minister of Environment, will discuss with Environment Ministers of other EU Member States in Brussels. They will gather here for a meeting of the Environment Council tomorrow, on 28 February.

“We demand that the construction of the Astraviec Nuclear Power Plant be stopped based on the concrete arguments why we have a great concern about potential risk to public health and the environment not only in Lithuania but also in neighbouring countries”, says Minister Kęstutis Navickas.

These arguments were set forth in the written information about the environmental aspects of the Astraviec NPP project prepared and circulated by Lithuania among EU Member States. As indicated in this information, Belarus constructs the nuclear power plant in violation of the provisions of the Espoo and Aarhus Conventions. Besides, it has not provided any study-based explanations as to why the Astraviec site, which is located at the distance of only 50 km from Vilnius, the largest city of Lithuania, was chosen for the construction of the NPP. The fact that no assessment of any potential radiological impact caused by an accident on cross-border waters as well as the residents and environment of our country has been carried out is of a great concern as well.

Invited by Belarus, as recommended by the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention held in 2014, the Special Mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (TATENA) organised on 16–20 January this year was, unfortunately, limited to the assessment of the resistance of the Astraviec NPP engineering design to external threats.

Therefore, Lithuania requests that Belarus would carry out NPP stress tests by including EU and Lithuanian experts, as undertaken in 2011, and a full-scope rather than limited-scope TATENA mission. Besides, pursuant to the recommendations of the Implementation Committee of the Espoo Convention, it should establish an international export commission and ensure international supervision of the implementation of the Astraviec NPP project in cooperation with our country.

Lithuania seeks to ensure that the seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention, which will be held in Minsk in June this year, would recognise that Belarus failed to implement the recommendations adopted in 2014 and further continues to develop the Astraviec NPP project in violation of this Convention.

Communication Division
27 February 2017


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