Tuesday, 29 March 2011


ENDS Europe DAILY, Wednesday 23 March 2011

Lithuania's environment ministry has criticised a plan to build a nuclear power plant in Belarus, 50 kilometres from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. It described the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the project as "inadequate".

In a statement on Tuesday, the ministry warned that actions would be undertaken by Lithuania to ensure the project is in line with environmental regulations. It says the EIA does not estimate possible radiation levels in case of an accident.

The ministry also complains of insufficient data on the geology, tectonics and seismology of the location. The EIA does not cover spent fuel storage and there are no analyses concerning impacts on
the Neris river and the local hydrological system.

According to the ministry, the Belarusian government has been ignoring calls to involve Lithuania in the project, despite transboundary rules allowing neighbouring countries to comment on EIAs. In 2010, the states of Micronesia used these rules to protest against plans to upgrade a Czech coal-fired power plant.


Lithuania is planning to raise the issue during this week's meeting of European leaders in Brussels, as well as a meeting of parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety in Vienna in April.


Lithuania's own Soviet-era nuclear power plant in Ignalina was decommissioned between 2004 and 2009 as part of its EU accession agreement.