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L. Linkevičius: Election calendar should not determine start of operation of nuclear power plant in Belarus
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius and the Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas sent a joint letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus Vladimir Makei, the Minister of Energy of Belarus Victor Karankevich, and the Minister of Emergency Situations of Belarus Vladimir Vashchenko, urging them not to start operating the nuclear power plant (NPP) in Belarus without eliminating the shortcomings of the facility.
"The launch of any nuclear power plant should not be rushed at the expense of safety, deliberately adjusting it to the election calendar. Unfortunately, such tendencies can be observed in the case of the Belarusian NPP. A number of safety issues, however, remain unresolved,” said L. Linkevičius.
"Lithuania's position is clear and consistent both in terms of nuclear safety and reserve capacity. First, international safety standards must be implemented prior to the launch of the facility. Secondly, the NPP cannot start operation without the necessary reserve capacity. We have raised the issue with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and we clearly say this to Belarus – the reserve capacity of the Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant (PSP) cannot be used for the needs of the Ostrovets NPP, "said the Minister of Energy Ž. Vaičiūnas.
The Ministers stressed the importance of cooperation among Belarus, the European Commission, and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group on the implementation of the EU stress tests recommendations. The Ministers noted that the issuance of an operating license for the nuclear power plant and loading nuclear fuel to the NPP without resolving safety issues of the facility was a direct responsibility of the Belarusian nuclear safety regulator, which could have appropriate consequences. The letter also raised the issue of ensuring adequate reserve capacity for the operation of the Belarusian NPP and reiterated the provision enshrined in the Lithuanian Law that the Lithuanian reserve capacity could not be used for the needs of the Ostrovets NPP in the event of the operation of the NPP.