Conversation between Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas and the head of the IAEA touches on Belarusian NPP safety issues

Date

2020 09 25

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On the margins of the 64th Annual Regular Session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference taking place this year on 21-25 September, Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas discussed the situation with the Belarusian nuclear power plant (NPP) project during a virtual conversation with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi.

During their talk, the minister emphasised that Belarus is continuing intense work for the commissioning of the Belarusian NPP, disregarding the recommendations of both the IAEA missions and the European Union stress tests, and ignoring nuclear safety.

“Political processes are dictating the course of implementation of the Belarusian NPP, which is a dangerous practice in facilities such as nuclear power plants. Nuclear safety is also a matter of responsibility of the IAEA, so I hope that the IAEA will pay unprecedented and constant attention to this project,” says Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

The Minister of Energy also emphasised that Lithuania has informed the Belarusian transmission system operator that Lithuania will not provide Belarus with power reserves. This implements the requirements of the Law on Necessary Measures.

The head of the IAEA was informed that this week, the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) appealed to the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus to agree that in the future, all relevant information be provided in advance by Belarus regarding decisions on physical tests at the nuclear facility, power unit commissioning, the beginning of its test-industrial operation, and the beginning of its industrial operation. This appeal was made in response to Belarus’ public statements about the planned commissioning of the unit this year on 7 November.

On 14 September, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Greece and Italy appealed to the IAEA and the Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) regarding the Belarusian NPP. Belarus is being called upon to immediately begin to address all nuclear safety issues at the Belarusian NPP, and to cooperate in a transparent manner with the Contracting Parties to the CNS.