31 Mar 2023 21:53

Lithuanian Foreign Ministry urges Belarus to stop NPP construction

VILNIUS. March 31 (Interfax/BNS) - The Lithuanian Foreign Ministry has forwarded a note to Belarus to demand that the construction of the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) be halted until nuclear safety issues are addressed.

"Belarus prepares for the launch of the second defective power unit, keeping incidents and defects secret from the public [...]. It shows [...] irresponsible treatment of nuclear power and poses a nuclear threat to the entire region," the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry quoted Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis as saying in a statement on Friday.

Lithuania has long been criticizing the Belarusian NPP construction about 50 kilometers from the Lithuanian border. Vilnius believes the plant is unsafe, although Belarus is building it under the International Atomic Energy Agency's supervision.

Belarus is building its NPP near the city of Ostrovets (Astravets) in the Grodno region in line with the Russian VVER-1200 project. It will consist of two 1.2 GW power units. The general contractor for construction of the NPP is ASE Group, a subsidiary of Rosatom.

Unit 1 started operations in November 2020. Unit 2's physical startup phase has begun, it is due to be hooked up to the grid in April 2023, and its commercial operations are to start in October 2023.

Minsk is considering the construction of more units at the Belarusian NPP.