Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas: Supervision of the Astravets NPP is also a matter of the IAEA’s reputation

Date

2020 05 11

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Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas appealed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding the Belarusian nuclear power plant (NPP) – nuclear fuel was delivered to the NPP construction site in Astravets last week, despite the fact that an agreement between responsible Lithuanian and Belarusian authorities on early notification of a nuclear accident has yet to be signed.   

“We were informed by the IAEA that nuclear fuel for the first block of the NPP being built in Astravets has already been delivered. However, Belarus has yet to sign the bilateral agreement on early notification of a nuclear accident. This situation is unacceptable and this is an intolerable practice, since we are talking about the security of countries and people,” said Mr Vaičiūnas.

The letter addressed to IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi emphasises that the IAEA has sent several missions to Belarus, and recommendations on the shortcomings in ensuring the nuclear safety of the Belarusian NPP have been presented by experts in the corresponding reports. The reports for the missions conducted in August 2019 and February 2020 have yet to be made public, and the reports on implementation of the recommendations of these missions have not been published either. The fact that Belarus refuses to make them public is hindering the transparent evaluation of the IAEA missions and their outcomes.

Belarus has also not implemented the recommendations put forth by international experts during the EU stress tests for ensuring the nuclear safety of the NPP under construction in Astravets, which must be implemented before the Astravets NPP is commissioned. Belarus still does not agree to formally assess the National Action Plan on the implementation of EU stress test recommendations in accordance with the procedures of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG), which is standard practice in the EU stress test procedure.

The letter states that confidence in nuclear energy and the IAEA, as an organisation, currently depends exclusively on the IAEA’s own actions and appropriate response to the intolerable situation in Belarus.