L. Linkevičius: nuclear safety is comprehensive and indivisible
Last week, the Belarusian nuclear safety regulatory authority announced a plan to address deficiencies, which had been identified during stress tests performed on the Ostrovets nuclear power plant (NPP). However, the plan does not envisage an implementation of recommendations by international experts until the declared beginning of the exploitation of the NPP, while the need to implement some measures will be considered only afterwards.
“It is obvious that the construction schedule remains a more important priority for Belarus than just ensuring nuclear safety of the NPP under construction in this country and implementing the recommendations made by international experts. Belarus had promised to prepare a National Action Plan in three months, but it is already almost a year behind schedule. We call on Belarus to submit in the nearest future an action plan to address deficiencies identified during stress tests for review by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group. Reviewing the plan and monitoring its implementation is of critical importance for a timely implementation of all the necessary measures,” said L. Linkevičius.
The Minister L. Linkevičius urged Belarus to immediately implement the new important recommendations by the IAEA's Pre-Operational Safety Review Team (Pre-OSART) in the nearest future. The mission team, which reviewed the pre-operational safety at the Belarusian NPP, has concluded its work on 22 August in Belarus.
“The launch of the Ostrovets NPP will not solve its safety problems, i.e. launching will not make it safer. Thus, we need to remain vigilant to avoid having this insecure object launched at our borders. We continue to make every effort and to draw the international community’s attention to the issue aiming at having the IAEA's recommendations implemented and deficiencies eliminated, as well as all other remaining safety issues addressed before the launch of the NPP,” said Lithuania’s Foreign Minister.
To date, Belarus has not provided answers to the main questions raised by Lithuania regarding the project’s nuclear and radiation safety, and environmental protection issues. The EU’s report on stress tests in Belarus, which was published in July 2018 about the Ostrovets NPP, identified serious safety deficiencies and made recommendations for their removal.
The Meeting of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (the Espoo Convention) decided that Belarus had failed to justify the selection of the construction site for the Ostrovets NPP.