2019.09.26 15:00

Lithuania to hold nuclear accident response readiness exercise next week

BNS 2019.09.26 15:00

Lithuanian authorities will test its readiness to a potential nuclear accident at Belarus' Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant, involving an evacuation drill in and around Vilnius and the testing of the nationwide emergency population warning system.

"It would be difficult to respond to all situations without holding an exercise and doing all of our homework," Interior Minister Rita Tamašunienė told reporters on Thursday, in preparation for the October 1-4 drills.

The Lithuanian government says the Astravyets plant under construction some 50 kilometers from Vilnius and less than 30 kilometers from the Lithuanian border fails to meet international safety and environmental standards, an allegation Minsk denies.

Tamašunienė said the plant poses a potential threat both to national security and to everyone living in Lithuania.

Sirens will sound across the partaking municipalities October 1 and residents will receive warning messages. Information will be broadcasted on Lithuanian public radio and television, and published on the LT72 emergency preparedness website.

An evacuation drill will take place on the second day. Groups of 50 volunteers will be evacuated from Švenčionys District to Zarasai District, and from Vilnius District to the municipality of Kalvarija.

In a so-called "temporary relocation" drill, the same number of volunteers will be moved from Šalcininkai District to Varėna District.

An aerial and ground radiation survey involving two helicopters will take place on October 3.

The results of the nuclear accident response readiness exercise, which will involve 24 public bodies and six municipalities, will be discussed on the fourth day.