Lithuanian Foreign Ministry hands a diplomatic note to the Belarus Ambassador over another incident in developing the Ostrovets NPP
The Belarus media informed about an incident that occurred on 26 December in the railway station of Slavnoe (Vitebsk Region, Belarus): a new reactor pressure vessel intended for the first unit of the Ostrovets NPP on its way from Russia to Belarus hit the support of the railway power supply line.
In the note presented to the Ambassador of Belarus Lithuania requests to thoroughly investigate the incident and to inform Lithuania, other neighbouring countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency about the findings and conclusions. Lithuania expressed deep concern about the recurrent incidents and the systemic lack of transparency in the implementation of the Ostrovets NPP project.
Also, Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated its immediate requests to Belarus: to invite the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Site and External Events Design (SEED) mission in its full scope in order to assess the suitability of the Ostrovets site for the construction of the NPP and its selection criteria; referring to the agreement signed with the European Commission on 23 June 2011, to perform the comprehensive risk and safety assessment (“stress-test”) in accordance with the EU methodology and with the participation of international experts; to establish an international experts’ commission that has been proposed by the Implementation Committee of the Espoo Convention for an in-depth analysis of the Ostrovets case.
The incident that took place on 26 December is the sixth incident at the Ostrovets NPP known to Lithuania in 2016. Lithuanian experts believe that the incident of 10 July when the 330-ton reactor vessel fell down from the height of 4 metres was particularly dangerous and could have had irreversible negative effects on the safety of the NPP. Therefore, Lithuania requested Belarus to replace the damaged reactor vessel with a new one. Even though Belarus tried to deny the incident and to downplay the consequences, active Lithuanian institutional efforts led to Belarus admitting the necessity to replace the damaged vessel.