Last week, when the EP members expressed their concern regarding the started operation of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant and demanded that it did not commence any commercial activity until all EU safety recommendations are complied with, EP member Andrius Kubilius first thanked his colleagues for bringing this matter so important to Lithuania to the attention of the European Parliament, according to a press release.
This Resolution and plenary session dedicated to the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant is unique and has been held in the EP for the first time ever. Previously, only separate clauses regarding the situation in Belarus or energetics would be included into the agenda for the Resolution.
“This is a sign of solidarity. Everybody knows that the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant was built by the Lukashenko regime and Rosatom, which is strictly controlled by the Kremlin, barely 40 km away from Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. This is why the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant is a very real and clear-cut threat to our national safety,” said the EP member.
“We are a small country. In case of an emergency, we have nowhere to run or hide. I am not against nuclear power; however, the last year clearly showed the true face of Mr. Lukashenko. It is not difficult to understand what kind of a transparency, international standards and regulator independency we can expect from this regime. The last Presidential elections were a proof of this,” said Andrius Kubilius.
According to Andrius Kubilius, some people might argue that nuclear power plants have been built near Brussels and Antwerp as well. “The correct way to put the question is this – would you like to have a power plant built by Lukashenko and Rosatom barely 30 km away from your own home or this European Parliament building?”
Andrius Kubilius reminded the EP members that the Espoo Convention (the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context) Committee confirmed that the said Convention had been breached by the choice of the location of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant. A large number of accidents had already occurred during the construction of the power plant. According to the European stress tests, many of the safety threats are related to the technological facilities of the power plant and the recommendations of international experts have not been complied with.
The EP member also said, “You should know that this is a geopolitical project by the Kremlin. The Kremlin regime loaned 10 billion USD to keep us dependent on the old Soviet power grid and the BRELL ring. This is why we are fighting against this project and why the democratic Belarus led by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is also against it. This is why we have decided to ban the import of electric power produced in unsafe power plants, which in turn makes the entire project of poor economic outlook. Finally, this is the reason why we are asking for your solidarity in this matter – let us get rid of this monster.”
Let us remind you that the Resolution made it into the EP plenary session agenda after the EP Committee on Petitions was petitioned by the Board of the Movement against the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant last summer. The said Board asked to acknowledge that the operation of the Belarussian power plant in Astravets was in conflict with the international environmental and nuclear power requirements, non-compliant with the European green policies and, thus, unacceptable.
Arvydas Sekmokas, the member of the Board of the Movement against the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant and one of the initiators of the Petition, presented the Petition to the EP Committee on Petitions and noted that the only effective way of fighting the threat would be to ban the import of the Belarussian electricity into the European Union.
With the help of the Lithuanian delegation of the European People’s Party (EPP) led by Andrius Kubilius, the EP Committee on Petitions relayed the matter for discussion by the EP Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), which agreed on the preparation of the Resolution and the plenary session. The Resolution has been prepared on the basis of the proposals of the members of the Lithuanian delegation of the European People’s Party.
Andrius Kubilius was glad that the absolute majority of the spokesmen at the plenary session endorsed the arguments laid out by the members of the Lithuanian delegation.
To remind you, the Resolution expressed the concern regarding the “hurried” start of operation of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant and its commercial activities scheduled to start in March, despite the “low quality assurance and control”, doubts regarding the compliance with the recommendations of the EU and other international organizations and lack of transparency.
The European Commission is encouraged to work together closely with Belarus so that the commercial operation of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant remains stopped until all the recommendations regarding EU testing in most unfavourable conditions and all the necessary improvements are done, and the neighbouring countries are duly informed of the respective results.
Translated by MP Translations Agency in Kaunas