Maximum effort is required to ensure that neighbouring countries follow the rules for nuclear and radiation safety when implementing their nuclear projects, also that they strictly comply with international environmental requirements, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis said during the meeting of representatives of Lithuanian institutions at the Foreign Ministry on June 27. The meeting discussed issues related to safety of the nuclear projects that are implemented at the Lithuanian state borders, in Russia’s Kaliningrad region and Belarus.
At the meeting, the Minister emphasized that on June 26 EU Commission chief José Manuel Barroso submitted a report to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, on “stress tests” for nuclear reactors. This document clarifies that “stress tests” have not been completed yet. Some further actions related to nuclear safety are to be carried out in the future. The President of the European Commission assured that further efforts were made to engage neighbouring countries in this process.
“Lithuania ensures the safety of technology that it develops. Last week President of the European Commission Barroso sent a letter to President of the European Council Van Rompuy identifying the EU member states, particularly Lithuania, as countries that are voluntarily and comprehensively carrying out the so-called “stress tests”. We must seek to have Russia and Belarus adopt such a responsible attitude on nuclear safety as well,” Ažubalis said.
So far Russia and Belarus have not finalized the procedure for the environmental impact assessment pursuant to the UN Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention). Nevertheless, preparatory work is hastily carried out on both construction sites, which is a significant violation of this Convention. That is the reason why Lithuania has filed a complaint to the Secretariat of the Espoo Convention in Geneva.
Lithuanian authorities are also very much concerned about the unanswered questions regarding the selection criteria of the construction sites for the two nuclear power plants, seismic tests (there is data about earthquakes that happened both in the Kaliningrad region and in Belarus in the past), nuclear reactor coolant, impact on the neighbouring territories and their population, also what would happen in case of an air crash, etc. Very serious doubts are raised regarding the ability of Belarus to safely build, operate and close its nuclear power plant, because of the announcement of June 25 by the President of Belarus that Russia would be responsible for the safety of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.
For many years Lithuanian authorities have been requesting Russia and Belarus to answer some basic questions regarding the safety of the nuclear power plants, to hold public hearings and bilateral consultations in Lithuania. However, they have not received any answers yet. Responsible Russian and Belarusian institutions are constantly and deliberately misleading the Lithuanian society and international community by saying that Lithuania has already received all the requested documentation.
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