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2019.11.05 16:58

It's not a shoe factory, it's a nuclear plant in the centre of Europe – Lithuanian president on safety at Astravyets NPP

BNS2019.11.05 16:58

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda, currently in Helsinki, has invited Finland to join efforts to ensure the safety of the nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus.

According to the president, Finland has specialists who could help the Belarusians to make the facility safe.

“My idea is to use your expertise in this field, expertise of Finland, because you are very good specialists, you have a broad range of specialists who could have Belarus implement all the needed safeguards or quality standards,” the Lithuanian president told a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö.

“Cooperation in this field would be very good, a win-win situation for all sides,” he added.

Lithuania maintains that the Astravyets nuclear power plant, constructed by Russia's Rosatom, is unsafe and poses a threat to the country's national security, environment and people. Minsk rejects Lithuania's concerns, insisting that the power plant is being constructed safely.

Niinistö said that safety standards should be put in place not only in Belarus, but for all nuclear power plants under construction worldwide.

“The Finnish expertise in nuclear safety is of a high level and I'm sure it will be helpful if you see the need for it,” the Finnish president said.

Lithuania plans to block power produced in Astravyets, but has so far failed to convince neighbours in the region to join the embargo.

The Belarusian energy ministry says nuclear fuel for the Astravyets NPP's first reactor could be brought to the site later this month.

Nausėda insisted that proper safety controls couldn't be brought in after the plant's launched.

“We are not talking about a shoe factory where you can implement quality requirement during the process of production. We are talking about a nuclear power plant in the centre of Europe,” the Lithuanian president said.

Rosatom is also involved in the planning for a nuclear power plant in Pyhajoki, Finland.