Vice-Minister of Environment Martynas Norbutas: Urgent decisions are needed concerning the safety of the Astravyets NPP2017-06-14
A meeting of seven Parties to the Espoo Convention began yesterday in Minsk. The meeting included discussions regarding violations of the project of the Astravyets nuclear power plant. Lithuania points out that the issue of the Astravyets nuclear power plant is primarily concerned with safety, as the dialogue has continued since 2009 without any results.
“We cannot discuss safety – it needs to be ensured,” Vice-Minister of Environment Martynas Norbutas, head of the Lithuanian delegation at the meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention, stressed. He also noted that Belarus had not done its homework and was trying to avoid inconvenient issues, such as site selection criteria, impact on human health, especially in densely populated areas, and management of the threats of a major accident.
A good illustration of this is Belarus’s proposals presented yesterday on the text of the decision of the meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention. Belarus was trying to ensure that a more in-depth study of the safety of the Astravyets plant would not be carried out and that the discussions on the matter would be completed as soon as possible.
“It makes us wonder why we have been discussing the issues of the safety of the Astravyets NPP for years, but somehow there is still a failure to provide any answers. Openness, detailed information on emerging issues, constructive discussions and, first and foremost, presentation of evidence of what is being done to assess, manage and eliminate threats and how it is being done – this is what is needed for a constructive dialogue. This is what we have been asking for many years,” the Vice-Minister of Environment says.
At the meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention, Lithuania pursued the aim of ensuring the international control of the project of the Astravyets NPP by setting up an international expert group to analyse the content of the project’s environmental impact assessment documentation.