Belarusian Minister for Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei has claimed that Lithuania’s complaints about the safety of the new nuclear power plant being built in Belarus, just 50km from Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, are inexplicable.
Astravyets nuclear power plant
© Reuters / Scanpix

“We cannot comprehend the reproaches voiced by Lithuanian partners about the safety of our nuclear reactor,” he said.

The Belarusian Minister for Foreign Affairs claimed that stress tests specialists had concluded that if a reactor of the type the Belarusian nuclear power plant at Astravyetswill use had been installed in Fukushima, the tragedy would not have happened.

Makei said as the country most affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster Belarus would never build an unsafe nuclear power plant.

Responding to claims that the reactor of the future Belarusian nuclear power plant is allegedly experimental and unsafe, Makei said: “It is in in no way experimental. It is an improved model of the reactor that has been quite effectively and safely used by many countries, including in the European Union.”

Makei said that Lithuania had demonstrated a constructive and pragmatic position with regard to the lifting of some European Union sanctions from Belarus and that Belarus was thankful for that but he claimed that while voting for the removal of the sanctions with one hand, Lithuania was trying to discourage a number of European financial institutions from cooperating with Belarus on infrastructure projects, which may be related to the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant one way or another.

“In other words, if we are busy developing our infrastructure and intend to build roads using money borrowed from European financial institutions, it means that the same roads can be used to transport the commodities required to build the nuclear power plant. If so, cooperation with Belarus in these projects is no go. This stance is absolutely inexplicable. It can be seen as new sanctions in disguise,” said the Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

However, EU Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete has supported Lithuania's position that Belarus' nuclear power plant under construction in Astravyets must comply with all Espoo Convention and nuclear safety requirements.

Lithuania has called on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to be particularly rigorous in examining projects linked, even indirectly, to the Astravyets nuclear power plant when considering investments in economy or infrastructure in Belarus.

Lithuania is also organising a boycott of electricity from the nuclear plant with the support of other Baltic countries and is investigating the options for stopping electricity from the plant from entering or transiting Lithuania, or going on to European energy markets.

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