Minister of Energy appeals to the European Commission and EU energy ministers regarding the Belarusian NPP

Date

2020 10 06

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Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas has appealed to European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson regarding implementation of the recommendations of the EU stress tests related to nuclear safety at the Belarusian nuclear power plant (NPP). The European Commission (EC) is being called upon to make every effort to postpone the Belarusian NPP power unit commissioning that has been publicly announced, because the report of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) on the nuclear safety situation in Belarus is only expected to come out January 2021.

The minister also raised this issue at an informal meeting of EU energy ministers that took place remotely today. The minister emphasised the importance of EC political leadership, as Belarus’ public statements about the power unit commissioning of the first reactor on 7 November, if carried through, would mean that the recommendations of EU experts related to nuclear safety would not be implemented before this NPP is commissioned.                  

The letter to the EC commissioner underlines that Belarus is only demonstrating formal involvement in the process of implementing the EU stress test recommendations, while in reality, it is accelerating the commissioning of the Belarusian NPP. The letter states that the EU stress tests at the Belarusian NPP are precisely the thing that will demonstrate the ability of the EU and the EC to make an impact on nuclear safety in third country projects.

“Belarus is planning on commissioning the nuclear power plant without implementing the EU stress test recommendations and postponing their implementation indefinitely, which basically means denying the EU stress test process and undermining the EU’s political leadership in the region. Belarus’s position may become a bad precedent for ignoring the recommendations of EU experts, while also discrediting international cooperation on nuclear safety issues,” says Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

The minister noted that any further steps in the Belarusian NPP commissioning process must be linked to the process of reviewing the implementation of EU stress test recommendations and the outcome of this review, as this is an integral part of ensuring nuclear safety and the EU stress test instrument itself.