Lukashenka orders KGB to check employees involved in Astravets NPP construction

Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka ordered the State Security Committee (KGB) to check all Rosatom employees involved in the construction of the nuclear power plant in Astravets. The corresponding presidential decree (Nr 515) was signed on December, 31.

In particular, foreign employees will be asked to disclose information on someone’s hurting Belarus’s national interests of Belarus in case they have it. A foreigner’s refusal to be questioned by the KGB might give ground for his being fired.

It is numerous leaks of information on incidents and violations at the construction site that might have led to issuing Decree Nr 515. For example, during the test installation of the reactor vessel in July, the 330-ton unit broke away and fell from a height of two to four meters.

According to official sources, in December, a new reactor vessel ‘came in a light contact with a utility pole’. Any damage to the reactor vessel was not detected, they stated.

On 8 April 2016, there was a collapse of the structural frame of the would-be nuclear service building at Astravets NPP, of which was informed in early May.

According to activist Mikalai Ulasevich, at least 10 persons lost lives during the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant in Astravets. Deputy Energy Minister Mikhail Mikhadzyuk refuted the statement saiyng that ‘only three people’ were killed at the construction site. Those three accidents occurred due to the fault of the workers, Mikhadzyuk stressed.

The NPP first power-generating unit is scheduled for commissioning in 2018, the second one – in 2020. The construction of two nuclear reactors is provided in the agreement reached by Belarus and Russia, the reactors being supplied by Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of the Russian state corporation Rosatom and the general contractor at the Belarusian NPP construction. The project faced opposition at home and abroad on both safety and political grounds.

Lithuania is the main critic of the idea of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, which is only 20 km from the border and 50 km from Vilnius. Minsk rejects Lithuania’s claims, arguing that nuclear power plants will have high safety standards. Vilnius asked Brussels for involvement of the European Union in the matter.

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