The Lithuanian government has decided that Belarus' nuclear power plant under construction Astravyets, a mere 50 kilometers from Vilnius, poses a threat to national security.
Belarus' Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction
© DELFI / Domantas Pipas

The Cabinet said on Wednesday that it proposes that the parliament declare the Astravyets facility an unsafe nuclear power plant that represents a threat to Lithuania's national security, environment and public health due to its geographical location.

"National security and the interests of people are the most important. Lithuania's position on the Astravyets nuclear power is clear and principled: the construction of the Astravyets NPP cannot be continued," Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said in a press release.

"From the very beginning, the construction of the plant has been marred by serious violations and incidents. Nuclear safety and international environmental requirements were not and are still not met," he said.

According to the press release, the Cabinet carried out an assessment regarding the Astravyets project as part of the implementation of a law, passed by the Seimas earlier this year, aimed at restricting electricity imports from Belarus and Russia.

The government found that the Astravyets plant is detrimental to Lithuania's national and security interests based on all criteria set out by the law, including the geographical location and site selection, technological characteristics, ensuring nuclear safety, compliance with international safety and environmental requirements, and interstate cooperation.

Russia's state corporation Rosatom is building the nuclear power plant in Astravyets, some 50 kilometers from Vilnius. The Lithuanian government maintains that the project falls short of safety and environmental standards, but Minsk rejects the criticism as unfounded.

Lithuania demands that Belarus conduct all the necessary seismological, geological and hydrological studies of the Astravyets site and perform site selection procedures in accordance with the established standards. It also calls for a full-scope review by the International Atomic Energy Agency's Site and External Events Design (SEED) mission and stress tests based on the EU methodology.

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