The threat of the Astravets NPP – on the agenda for the meeting of EU energy ministers

Date

2020 06 15

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Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas raised the issue of the threat of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant (Astravets NPP) in a video conference of European Union (EU) energy ministers.

“Hearing Belarus’s statements about plans to launch the Astravets NPP in the coming months, and knowing that the requirements of the European stress test have still not been implemented, it is clear that EU involvement at the technical level is no longer enough. We look forward to proactive EC political decisions and leadership in addressing this problem and threat facing millions of EU citizens,” says Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas. 

According to the minister, the joint visit of the EC and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) to Belarus and the subsequent EC appeal to Belarus have still not produced any results – there are no guarantees that nuclear safety requirements will be implemented before the Astravets NPP is launched and that an ongoing monitoring mechanism will be set up.

“Belarus, which is ignoring international safety standards and the requirements of independent experts for stress tests, must be sent a clear political signal that this will have consequences in EU-Belarus matters. On the other hand, without decisive action from the EC and the EU, the EU risks opening Pandora’s box with its own hands: in the future, any country bordering the EU will be able to build a nuclear power plant and will have the right to ignore nuclear safety. This is a dangerous precedent that must be prevented,” says Mr Vaičiūnas. 

Issues relevant to Lithuania related to nuclear safety at the Astravets NPP are raised consistently and constantly – this is the third consecutive meeting of EU energy ministers where this issue was included in the agenda at Lithuania’s initiative.