L. Linkevičius: Information about safety of the Ostrovets NPP published by Belarus does not meet the reality
“It is regrettable that Belarus seeks to legitimise the project of the Ostrovets Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) through the means of public relations rather than strengthening the nuclear safety. It goes without saying that the stress tests report must comply with the methodology of the European Union. However, this is just a form matching. We need to talk about the content, the assessment provided for in the report, as well as the recommendations, which will have to be implemented,” said the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius commenting the information distributed by the Interfax news agency that the stress tests of the Ostrovets NPP meet the European safety requirements.
The Minister also noted that stress tests are just one of many elements of strengthening the nuclear safety. Stress testing is limited to the resilience of nuclear power plants to the external threats and risks. The main issues raised by Lithuania regarding the safety of the Ostrovets NPP, i.e., the site research, evaluation and selection, seismic research, adverse transboundary environmental impact, safety culture, quality of construction and future operation, were not addressed during the stress tests.
“We urge Belarus and the Ostrovets NPP contractors to take the nuclear safety issues seriously and implement all the international commitments, including the recommendations provided for in the stress test report. Only after these recommendations are implemented it will be possible to technically substantiate the conclusions regarding the resistance of the Ostrovets NPP against external factors,” emphasised Minister L. Linkevičius.
On June 12-14, the Ostrovets Stress Test Peer Review Board visited Belarus and presented the preliminary stress tests report to the Belarusian authorities. The experts have concluded that the Belarusian stress tests report has been prepared according to the methodological requirements set by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG); however, the results of the stress tests and recommendations will be revealed only on 2 July. The parties participating in the Ostrovets NPP stress tests (the European Commission, Belarus, peer review experts, and the Board) have agreed not to comment on the results of the report until it is endorsed at an ENSREG meeting scheduled for 2 July.
„The critical recommendations provided in the EU Stress Test Peer Review Report must be implemented before the Ostrovets NPP is launched. The implementation of the recommendations should be conditional for further EU-Belarus cooperation. We expect that the European Commission will remain involved in the process and will keep control of it,” emphasized Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, commenting on the presentation of the Peer Review Report of the Ostrovets NPP Stress Test that took place in Brussels on 3 July.