Belarus is about to bring a controversial nuclear power plant online which in an accident would affect neighboring Baltic countries.
Officials in Minsk say a nuclear power plant being constructed in western Belarus will be launched during the summer and start producing electricity in the autumn, reported RFERL.
“We target July in respect of the physical launch,” Energy Minister Viktar Karankevich said about the plant in the western region of Hrodno. “Accordingly, the output of first kilowatt hours of electric power — the energy — will start in September-October.”
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius has asked US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun for support on Belarus’ Astravyets nuclear power plant that Vilnius considers unsafe, reported The Baltic Times.
The minister asked for US support for Lithuania’s position on the Astravyets nuclear power plant, emphasizing the project’s non-compliance with environmental and nuclear safety standards and the need to implement EU stress test recommendations before the facility is launched. it said in a press release.
The Astravyets project runs counter to the economic logic, placing “an enormous economic burden” on Belarus and “further increasing its dependence on Russia”, Linkevicius said.
Western countries are interested in a politically, economically and energy-independent Belarus, and Lithuania is ready to work together to increase Belarus’ energy independence, but the neighboring country must make efforts, too, according to the press release.
In January, Lithuanian Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas told RFE/RL that the Belarusian plant is “a threat to our national security, public health, and environment.”
“The key question is the site selection, which was done politically — geopolitically,” Vaiciunas told RFE/RL.
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