Lithuania is once again trying to cast doubt on the safety of NPPs under construction in Belarus in response to the approval of the construction by the IAEA. Vilnius refers to the violation of international conventions, allegedly committed by Minsk, but the real reason of countering the nuclear plant is far more Mercantile.
Hassle of the Baltic States with the International Agency on nuclear safety (IAEA) from being built in neighboring Belarus of the atomic power station does not abate. Under construction in Ostrovets, near the Lithuanian border, pre-NPP meets safety standards, said on Monday the Deputy General Director of the IAEA’s Juan Carlos Lentijo, who heads the Agency Department of nuclear and nuclear security. “I was in construction last year, from my point of view, this is a serious project,” added Lentijo during his visit to Vilnius.
“I don’t know what that meant, Deputy Director of the IAEA, but every object should be constructed and tested in compliance with all norms, and in Belarus this was not done”
Commenting on the accusations of the Lithuanian press to Belarus that is not reported incidents on the construction site, Deputy Director General of IAEA, recalled that it was not a nuclear accident, so to report them as Minsk is not required. Nevertheless, he called on Minsk in any case, to strengthen cooperation with Vilnius, thus proving its willingness to provide security. According to him, the IAEA, in any case encourages notification of events such as incidents in the course of NPP construction, quotes Lentijo the portal Delfi.
Nuclear reaction of Lithuanian politicians
Lentigo attempt to reassure the Lithuanian politicians did not succeed. In response to his statement on Monday, the leaders of all political parties of Lithuania signed an agreement “On joint action in relation to unsafe nuclear power plant in Astravets”.
Writes three Lebanese source.lt, the initiator of the agreement is the member of the Seimas, conservative Gabrielus Landsbergis, the grandson of the leader of the movement for the independence of Lithuania 90 years of Vytautas Landsbergis. Their Declaration called “Stop the construction of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant has become a common concern of all the parliamentary parties.” The former Prime Minister, now a member Andrius Kubilius added that the builders of the atomic power station can not rely on the financial assistance of the European Union. According to him, no woman in Europe had failed to start the operation of a nuclear power station when this is prevented by the neighbors.
Lithuania tried to stop this project in may 2010, a year before the beginning of actual construction. A year ago, Vilnius was called on neighboring countries to boycott in the future energy from “unsafe” nuclear power plant. The authorities of Latvia, Estonia, Poland promised to support the boycott.
By the way, Finland to give such promises are refused. Recall also that in Finland nuclear power plant is still working, the reactor of the Soviet project, and 80 km from Helsinki, and Finland is not going to abandon it.
After Fukushima, conducted stress tests
Member of Russian nuclear society former Vice-Chairman of the public Council of Rosatom Anatoly Nazarov noted that, working with the Belarusian side, the specialists of Rosatom has paid very serious attention to environmental safety issues.
“That the safety of nuclear power plants will be at a very high level, now we can say with absolute certainty. In particular, will be equipped with automatic emergency shutdown systems of reactors, independent of the human factor. In addition, in Belarus itself, there are very good theoretical nuclear center. The specialists of Rosatom actively collaborated with him in choosing the place and continue to operate during the construction of the station” – he explained the newspaper VIEW.
“We studied the influence of the stations on groundwater, the environment, the factor of tectonic processes. The choice of location was due to including environmental security,” said the nuclear scientist.
As for seismic activity, the expert reminded, after the Fukushima accident in Russia conducted tests of the readiness of Russian nuclear power plants to similar events, similar work is now carried out in Belarus, and that, according to the scientist, could not assess the IAEA. “So Juan Carlos Lentijo and described the newly built station as a “serious project,” – says Nazarov.
Chose a site and with us was not consulted
In turn, the former Minister of energy of Lithuania, the former head of the state Commission for control over nuclear energy Saulius Kutas told the newspaper VIEW that remains categorically opposed to nuclear power plant in Belarus. “I don’t know what that meant, Deputy Director of the IAEA, but every object should be constructed and tested in compliance with all norms, and in Belarus this was not done, and I don’t know how it is now possible to correct this mistake,” says Kutas.
The main complaint of ex-Minister calls that Minsk did not consult with the Lithuanians at the time of site selection. “No international mission while choosing the site for construction of NPP were not present, the decision was informed only after the fact,” reminded the Lithuanian nuclear scientist, saying that it violates the Espoo Convention – international Convention on evaluation of environmental impact in a transboundary context. Minsk has signed this Convention in 2005.
In March last year, Deputy energy Minister of Belarus Mikhail Mikhadyuk in detail and point by point explained that the Belarusian NPP project complies with the requirements of the Convention. The project was in 2009 sent to other interested countries. “In 2010 hosted an international consultation in Austria, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. In Austria, Lithuania and Ukraine were conducted public hearings,” – quoted Mikhadzyuk was the portal “BelTA”. Modified taking into account the comments and proposals report in February 2011 was sent to interested parties and to the Secretariat of the Espoo Convention. All participating countries, except Lithuania, have been satisfied with the results of the discussions.
Then Mikhadyuk invited Lithuanian expert to come to the building. Vilnius pondered the invitation until July, and then refused, stating that first there should arrive inspectors from the IAEA. And that’s what Lithuania so loudly demanded finally happened in January in Ostrowiec for five days was the so-called SEED mission (the mission of the IAEA’s verification on the safety assessment of the site and project, including external influences). It is for the results of this inspection, the representatives of the Agency and issued a positive opinion – they stated that Belarus has adequately to external threats, which may occur for a nuclear power plant site.
However, these findings Lithuanians then again, not much. The Minister of foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius said that the mission was limited to “only assessment of the design of the power plant”. “No news of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will not be enough for them”, – sighed for this reason, the press Secretary of the Belarusian foreign Ministry Dmitry Mironchik.
The rational underpinnings of hysteria
Anatoly Nazarov reminds Lithuanian politicians: the IAEA publishes its findings rarely and only after very thorough checks. “So “mission SEED” in Belarus makes a conclusion about the readiness of the security systems of the station: in particular, it checks for the presence of water, electrical equipment, fire-fighting equipment and trained personnel. Typically, such verification may take up to six months. And this repeated verification: representatives of the IAEA will inspect the station in the future”, – concluded the expert.
Nazarov recalls that seven years ago a very great stir was observed in the Baltic States around the construction is also at the border of Lithuania – Baltic nuclear power plant in Neman in the Kaliningrad region, subsequently frozen. At the time, and the employees of Rosatom, and members of the public Council of Rosatom, reacted very seriously to the question of arranged public discussions in Kaliningrad region, our representatives visited including in Lithuania. But to persuade the Lithuanians were very difficult,” – said the expert.
As already wrote the newspaper VIEW, the gestures of Vilnius seem to be purely emotional at first glance. In fact, he acts on the basis of pragmatic reasons, chief among which is hope for construction in Lithuania itself competing Visaginas nuclear power plant. However, even if we leave aside the many issues around this project (for example, calculations show that the station produced electricity would be extremely expensive, and the nuclear power plants for many years is at a vague stage of design) is a trivial factor of time. According to the most optimistic plans, Vishinsky NPP may be launched in 2028, while BNPP needs to capitalize on ten years earlier. Lithuania is sorely lagging behind.