Prime Minister puts forward a proposal to Belarus regarding an alternative to Astravets NPP

Date

2019 03 07

Rating
1
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Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis addressed the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Sergei Rumas proposing to consider the development of a modern gas power plant instead of Astravets NPP.

‘As neighbouring states, we interact and cooperate in a wide range of fields, therefore, on behalf of the Lithuanian Government and myself, I would like to express my profound hope that this issue will also be addressed in the spirit of good neighbourliness and mutual benefit. While respecting the right of each state to choose the direction for its economy, we nevertheless cannot hide our sincere disappointment at the decision by our neighbour Belarus to move forward with a nuclear power plant project less than 50 km off Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania’, reads Prime Minister’s letter.

The Prime Minister states in his letter that the Meeting of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) held in Geneva a month before made a final decision that the selection of the site for the construction of a nuclear power plant was inappropriate, and the EU-conducted stress tests have found that the nuclear power plant was not safe: the facility site falls within the seismic zone, and the project has various serious deficiencies. The construction of the power plant on an inappropriate site will never allow to claim with absolute certainty that the nuclear power plant is safe.

‘Against this background, I would like to bring forward the proposal for the Belarusian side to consider the possibility of developing a modern gas power plant instead of the Astravets  nuclear power plant. Lithuania would stand ready to secure alternative gas supplies to your country from Lithuania and through our territory. The decisions we have already made suggest that the high capacity Klaipėda Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal, which has been operating successfully for several years now, will have the capacity to satisfy the needs of Lithuania and regional consumers until at least 2044, and the completion of the gas interconnection with Poland in 2021 will ensure the direct access for Lithuania and the entire region to the European Union gas market’, reads Prime Minister’s letter. 

The Prime Minister is convinced that the proposed alternative would benefit the Belarusian economy and open up a qualitatively new chapter not only in the mutual relations between Belarus and Lithuania but also in Belarus’s relations with the European Union.