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MEPs criticise and call for suspension of the launch of the Belarus nuclear plant in Ostrovets

MEPs express strong concerns over the safety of the Ostrovets nuclear plant in Belarus and demand to suspend its commercial launch. In this regard a resolution was passed. Parliament criticises the rash commissioning of this facility, pointing to the continued lack of transparency and official communication regarding the frequent emergency shutdowns of the reactor and equipment failure.

The nuclear plant started to generate electricity on 3 November 2020 without fully observing recommendations made in the 2018 EU peer review and by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), MEPs say, expressing their discontent with the rush to start commercial operation of the plant in March 2021, as reported by eureporter.co.

They call on the Commission to work closely with the Belarusian authorities to delay launching the plant until full implementation of all EU stress test recommendations and all the necessary safety measures.

MEPs also call Belarus to meet the international nuclear and environmental safety standards, and to cooperate with international authorities in a transparent manner.

Background

The Ostrovets nuclear plant, built by the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom. The Ostrovets site lies 50 km from Lithuania’s capital Vilnius and in close proximity to other EU countries such as Poland, Latvia and Estonia.

Many countries has long opposed the plant construction on grounds of safety. On 3 November electricity stopped being traded between Belarus and the EU once the Ostrovets plant was connected to the electricity grid. In August 2020 a joint decision of the Baltic States was passed to terminate commercial exchanges of electricity with Belarus once the Ostrovets plant started operating. However, MEPs note that electricity from Belarus can still enter the EU market via the Russian grid.

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