Lithuanian scientists provide advice to Belarus' authorities and specialists supervising the Astravyets nuclear power plant project, the news website reported on Thursday.

Specialists from the Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI) advise Belarus' nuclear and radiation safety body Gosatomnadzor, which is effectively responsible for the Astravyets plant's safety, as part of a 3.5-million-euro project supported by the European Commission.

"We are advising Belarusians on how to verify documents provided by Russians. We are training them under the Western rules," Eugenijus Uspuras, head of the LEI's nuclear installation safety laboratory, who also participates in the project, told

"Such support to the neighboring country is necessary in order to ensure timely and effective supervision of the constructed nuclear power plant by Belarus' nuclear regulation institutions. This is very important not only for Belarus, but also for Lithuania (at the border of which this nuclear power plant is constructed) and for the entire Europe," the LEI says on its website.

Vytautas Bakas, chairman of the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defense, says he is surprised at the Lithuanian scientists being involved in the project.

"That's news to me. Lithuania regards this plant as incompatible with its national security interests, and we must seek at all levels to ensure that it does not function," he told

However, Jurgis Vilemas, a former director of the LEI, believes that Lithuanians have to contribute to ensuring the plant's safety.

"It is in our interest that the power plant should be as safe as possible. We may not purchase electricity from it -- and we will not buy because we have cheaper alternatives -- but, to my mind, it is good that Lithuanian specialists advise Belarusians on safety issues. Because we should care about this too," he told the news website.

The Seimas has declared the Astravyets facility under construction some 50 kilometers from Vilnius a threat to national security, environment and public health.

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