19/7 Tass 371
MINSK, July 19 (Itar-Tass) —— Minsk rejects Lithuanian claims to the construction of the Belarusian first nuclear power plant near Ostrovets in the Grodno region.
“Lithuania’s raising of the NPP question has mostly political and economic causes because the power plants to be built in the region will make problematic the market for electricity generated by the Visaginas NPP in Lithuania and investments in that project,” head of the Belarusian Natural Resources Ministry’s state environmental examination department Alexander Andreyev said.
Lithuania will build the Visaginas NPP 2.3 kilometers away from the Belarusian border. Belarusian experts said that Lithuania did not respond to the objections to the construction of the nuclear power plant so close to the Belarusian territory but was against the construction of the Belarusian power plant 30 kilometers away from the Lithuanian border.
For instance, Lithuania has accused Belarus of breaching the ESPO Convention, which evaluates the transboundary environmental effects. However, the convention does not bind the country building a nuclear power plant to coordinate the distance between the NPP and large populated localities in another country. “I hope that the convention committee will consider the issue in September,” Andreyev said. “Meanwhile, the convention secretariat has asked no questions to Belarus, which fully complies with the convention,” he said.
The St. Petersburg Atomenergoproyekt research institute drafted the project of the Belarusian first NPP.
The digging of the construction pit for the Belarusian NPP will begin in September 2011. Russia’s Atomstroyexport, the general contractor of the project, has confirmed the readiness to start up the first unit in 2017 and the second unit in 2018.