Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius on Tuesday urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to respond to violations of the construction of the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus.
Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction
© AFP / Scanpix

He discussed the issue with IAEA chief Yukiya Amano in Vienna.

The minister accentuated that IAEA, as a neutral technical organization in charge of nuclear safety and security, cannot fail to respond when it comes to incorrect decisions in selection of construction site, technological violations of construction operations or undue implementation of the project, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

In Linkevičius' words, Lithuania demands that Belarus should conduct all the necessary seismological, geologic, hydrological site tests and conduct site selection procedures in line with the necessary standards, also calling for a full-scale IAEA SEED mission and stress tests under EU methodology.

Lithuania's government maintains that construction of the Astravyets NPP by Belarus violates security standards, also fearing that the power plant might burden the synchronization of Baltic electricity networks with Western Europe.

The government has called upon EU institutions and other countries to block electricity from the power plant on the EU level, however, did not secure the necessary support. Countries in the region hold different positions on the matter – Poland recently said it would not buy Astravyets electricity, Estonia has also expressed support to Lithuania, meanwhile, Latvia has confined to calls to ensure security of the power plant.

The Astravyets NPP is being built by Russian state-run nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, with funding provided by the Russian government. The power plant is constructed some 20 km from the Lithuanian-Belarusian border and about 50 km from Lithuania's capital Vilnius.

Belarus says the power plant's construction is in full compliance with security standards. The builders say the first 1.2 gigawatt (GW) block should be operational in 2019, with the second analogous reactor launched in 2020.

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