Despite the violation of the main principles of the Espoo Convention and the Aarhus Convention, Belarus is quickly progressing with the construction of its first nuclear power plant (NPP), designed by the Russian State corporation Rosatom in the North-Western part of Belarus, near Ostrovets.
The distance from the construction site to the Lithuanian State (and the external European Union) border is just about 20 km and to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius – 50 km. In case of an accident in the NPP, the real hazard area would comprise the territories of the Baltic States, Sweden, Poland. Denmark, Ukraine, Germany.
Belarus is implementing the project in violation of international nuclear and environmental safety standards and without respect to the principles of transparency. Belarus selected the site in Ostrovets for the construction of the NPP before the transboundary EIA procedures (of Espoo Convention) were even started and without due respect to the safety requirements by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Neither Belarus has performed the stress-test exercise according to the declaration signed with the European Commission in 2011. Moreover, the safety culture of the contractor general and future operator is low. Belarus has been hastily proceeding with the construction works ignoring the sequence of procedural steps set by international norms and standards.
Belarus is actively looking for political support while disregarding technical and legal issues concerning the development of the NPP project. Belarus publicly provides false statements that international organisations and other countries approve the NPP project, which is a mere misinterpretation of the actual situation.
Understanding that the NPP construction process is irreversible, the Parliamentary Assembly should demand that the NPP 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.