On 27 February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius presented a decision of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo) on non-compliance by Belarus with requirements of the Espoo Convention (NPP construction) in the Government sitting. At the beginning of February, the Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention in Geneva decided that Belarus had violated the Espoo Convention in choosing a construction site for the Ostrovets nuclear power plant (NPP).
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister noted that this decision was made as a result of a long-term effort by the Lithuanian institutions (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Energy, the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate, etc.), international cooperation, and active diplomacy.
“The Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention in Geneva has demonstrated unique unity and solidarity of the EU countries and partners with Lithuania,” said L. Linkevičius.
The Government identified the removal of all shortcomings that had been identified when carrying out EU stress tests on the Ostrovets NPP as its immediate priority.
“The EU has repeatedly called on Belarus and will continue to urge this country to present an Action Plan that would include concrete commitments and reflect a responsible approach to obvious nuclear safety issues,” said the Minister L. Linkevičius.
Lithuania will continue to raise environmental, nuclear and radiation protection issues of the Ostrovets NPP project in the conventions and organs of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency. At EU level, Lithuania will strengthen cooperation to ensure continuous monitoring and a constant review by the European Union.
It is recognized that the Ostrovets NPP project posed threats to Lithuania’s national security, environment, and public health. In addition, the choice of the construction site for the Ostrovets NPP is without justification. This is one of the main problems of the project.
Belarus has not yet provided answers to Lithuania’s essential questions about the environmental, nuclear safety and radiation protection. Belarus also failed to take into consideration the questions raised by Lithuania and findings of the stress tests about the geological and seismic research of the site. In addition, effects on the Neris River, drinking water in Lithuania, the ability to safely withstand an impact of commercial passenger airplane crashes and other important aspects were not appropriately evaluated.
Currently, 44 states are Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention).
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania