Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has denied reports published by the Russian media, claiming that Lithuania and Belarus had agreed on the construction of Astravets Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) as required by the Espoo convention regarding environmental impact assessment.
Astravets NPP construction site
© R. Bogdano nuotr.

According to Butkevičius, Lithuania's questions concerning Astravets NPP construction have not been answered. This was emphasised at the sitting of the Lithuania-Belarus Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation on 9-10 November.

"It has been stated for the record that Belarus does not follow certain international agreements, that an (independent - ELTA) commission has to inspect the site," Butkevičius told journalists on Wednesday after the Government's sitting.

In June 2014, a meeting of the Espoo Convention parties recognised that Belarus was continuing the construction of the nuclear power plant in Astravets without complying with the convention's provisions - the construction had not been coordinated with neighbouring countries. Lithuania believes that construction cannot continue before an environmental impact assessment, based on Espoo standards, is completed.

As reported, Lithuania has not received answers from Belarus on why it decided to build the nuclear facility 50km from Vilnius, what measures would be undertaken to limit the NPP's impact on Lithuania's environment and the Neris River, also, when the NPP's stress tests would be conducted and when independent experts, including those from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), could inspect the site.

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