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2020.11.11 16:00

Lithuania’s nuclear watchdog urges European regulators to act against Belarus’ NPP

BNS, LRT.lt2020.11.11 16:00

The Lithuanian State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) has demanded that European nuclear safety regulators suspend the commissioning of Belarus' Astravyets nuclear plant until all safety issues have been resolved. 

The Astravyets plant, located some 50 kilometres from Vilnius and considered unsafe by Lithuania, suffered an incident and ceased generating electricity on November 8, less than a week after it was launched on November 3.

Read more: Incident reported at Belarus nuclear plant days after launch

According to a press release by VATESI, Belarus continues to claim that stress tests assessed by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) did not identify any safety deficiencies, which is "irresponsible and intolerable".

The stress tests sought to evaluate outside risks to the nuclear plant and the facility’s ability to withstand them. They also sought to determine the shortcomings of the Astravyets NPP and provide recommendations for seismic security and accident control.

Belarus has provided the peer review team with answers to only one of the four sets of questions, according to VATESI. Lithuania's questions also remain unanswered, the regulator said.

Earlier this week, VATESI called on members of the ENSREG to demand that Belarus provide answers "without any delay and resolve all indicated safety issues".

On Wednesday, Lithuania handed a diplomatic note Belarus, asking Minsk for official information about the incident at the Astravyets nuclear power station.

Read more: Lithuania asks Minsk for official information on Astravyets NPP incident