Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis addressed his Belarusian counterpart Syarhei Rumas proposing to consider the development of a modern gas power plant instead of Astravets NPP.
“As neighbouring states, we interact and cooperate in a wide range of fields, therefore, on behalf of the Lithuanian Government and myself, I would like to express my profound hope that this issue will also be addressed in the spirit of good neighbourliness and mutual benefit. While respecting the right of each state to choose the direction for its economy, we nevertheless cannot hide our sincere disappointment at the decision by our neighbour Belarus to move forward with a nuclear power plant project less than 50 km off Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania”, he stated.
In his letter, Saulius Skvernelis recalls that EU-conducted stress tests found that the nuclear power plant was not safe: the facility site falls within the seismic zone, and the project has various serious deficiencies. The construction of the power plant on an inappropriate site, according to the Prime Minister, will never allow to claim with absolute certainty that the nuclear power plant is safe.
“Against this background, I would like to bring forward the proposal for the Belarusian side to consider the possibility of developing a modern gas power plant instead of the Astravets nuclear power plant. Lithuania would stand ready to secure alternative gas supplies to your country from Lithuania and through our territory.”
In his opinion, the high capacity Klaipėda Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal, which has been operating successfully for several years now, will have the capacity to satisfy the needs of Lithuania and regional consumers until at least 2044.
The Prime Minister is convinced that the proposed alternative would benefit the Belarusian economy and open up a qualitatively new chapter not only in the mutual relations between Belarus and Lithuania but also in Belarus’s relations with the European Union.
Lithuania has repeatedly criticized the construction of the nuclear power plant and encouraged the rest of the countries of the United Europe to not buy electricity from the would-be NPP. Our neighbour is not only concerned about the proximity of the station to Vilnius, but also with a number of emergencies during the NPP construction. Among the emergencies are a reactor vessel incident, when it fell during the transportation, the collapse of the concrete structure at the site between the reactors. Our channel was the first to report on the incident. Before the official request of the Lithuanian side, representatives of the Belarusian NPP denied this information.