Belarus, Lithuania sign agreement on early reporting nuke incidents

On May 25, Lithuania’s State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) and the Belarusian Ministry of Emergency Situations signed the agreement on early notification about emergencies in nuclear facilities and exchanging information on nuclear safety.

The parties agreed to immediately provide information in case of emergency and in case of radiation monitoring system indicates radiation dose rate level that could be hazardous to the public health, VATESI reports.

Under Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, such bilateral agreements between neighbouring countries are usual international practice, the agency stressed.

“Despite this signed agreement, all Lithuania raised questions regarding environmental and nuclear safety issues related to the implementation of the Belarusian NPP project on the Astravets site remain open. Lithuania has consistently taken the position that Belarusian NPP should not be commissioned before implementation of all international environmental and nuclear safety requirements,” the statement reads.

The would-be Belarusian NPP with two VVER-1200 reactors with a total capacity of 2,400 MW is being built according to the Russian project near Astravets in Hrodna region. The first power unit is scheduled for 2020, the second second one will be launched in 2021. The public keep being concerned over the unavailability of information about everything that happens at and around the site. It is expected that the NPP will send its used nuclear fuel to Russia, but it will be stored in Belarus for about 10 years before the shipment.

Lithuania is the main critic of the Astravets NPP, which is under construction 50 km from Vilnius. The Lithuanian authorities insist that the facility is being built with violations of safety requirements. Minsk, however, refutes these allegations.

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