Russia and Belarus have announced plans to build new nuclear power plants close to the Lithuania’s border. Belarus has selected the nuclear site which is just around 50 km from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. The Criteria for selecting a nuclear site near the capital of another country, which is densely populated, are unclear. This choice was made before concluding an Environment Impact Assessment and intergovernmental consultations according to the Espoo Convention. A possible impact for Lithuania in case of a nuclear accident is not duly evaluated in both cases.
Taking into consideration the fact that several nuclear power projects are considered in the Baltic Sea region, the preference should be given to those projects which are the safest from the nuclear safety point of view and the most economically sound, including on the grounds of integration with a developed transmission network. It is important to note that Belarus has selected a nuclear site where the transmission system is poorly developed and needs major improvements, whereas other alternative nuclear sites have the necessary infrastructure in place. In the case of Kaliningrad, there is a need for additional transmission lines to neighbouring countries because the projected capacity of the nuclear power plant will exceed internal demand.
Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly should adopt a resolution on this issue seeking that new nuclear energy projects in Europe would be implemented in accordance with the international nuclear safety and environmental standards and conventions, as well as with due consideration to the reasonable concerns of the neighbouring countries. Final decisions regarding nuclear projects should be made after the completion of an international process of Environment Impact Assessment procedures as defined in the Espoo Convention and other relevant international documents.