Belarus will send dropped reactor vessel back to Russia if it is damaged – Lukashenka

Belarus will get rid of the reactor vessel that was dropped during the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in Astravets if the vessel has suffered even the slightest bit of damage, president Alyaksandr Lukashenka during his working trip to Vitsebsk region on Thursday.

“Some reporters have gone too far. Even Russians. Russian mass media have been the worst ones in covering this accident. ‘A reactor was dropped at the construction site of the nuclear power plant in Belarus’. Wake up: there is no reactor over there yet. It was a metal shell, a barrel if you want, with walls as thick as 20cm. The reactor will go inside it,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes Lukashenka as saying.

According to him, the reactor vessel was lifted, the straps failed and one side of this barrel touched the ground.

“Even if the reactor vessel has suffered the slightest bit of damage, we should get rid of it. And Russians say that if we reject this one, they will bring another. And that’s the end of the story,” Lukashenka stressed.

As reported earlier, during installation the enclosure of the future reactor fell from the height of 2 – 4 meters at the construction site of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in Astravets (Hrodna region).

At first, the Belarusian Energy Ministry declined any comment on the situation. The press office group of the company Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of the Russian state corporation Rosatom and the general contractor at the Belarusian NPP construction, said the information about the reactor’s fall was untrue.

Later, however, the Belarusian side confirmed that the ‘emergency situation had occurred in the storage area of the reactor body during its movement in the horizontal plane’ but failed to go into specifics.

Lithuania’s government handed a note to the Belarusian Embassy over the incident. Vilnius also asked Brussels for involvement of the European Union in the matter. Lithuania is the main critic of the idea of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, which is only 20 km from the border and 50 km from Vilnius. Minsk rejects Lthuania’s claims, arguing that nuclear power plants will have high safety standards., following BelTA