On April 25, information on a serious incident at the construction site of the Astravets nuclear power plant was made public.
There was a fire in the electric control room of the reactor protection system on February 17, 2018, local activist Mikalai Ulasevich stated with reference to its own sources at the construction site.
According to him, the incident happened during a test run of the reactor protection system equipment. The electric control room allegedly burnt to ashes. To date, the room has been renovated; new equipment have been installed.
However, the authorities refuted reports about the blaze.
“On February 17, 2018 at 13:20 there was a short-circuit fault in a temporary power cable providing electricity to the tower crane and running across the outer concrete wall of one of the building,” the official statement reads.
It is noteworthy that official comments appeared only after Ulasevich’s report.
“They are now confirming [that some incident took place], but at the same time, they state it was unhazardous. They say no fire happened, but but people saw fire trucks going there… The question is: „if you knew about the incident, why didn’t you inform people in due time? Why didn’t you calm the country?” Ulasevich wonders.
In his opinion, confirming the fact of a grave fire would be a serious blow to the reputation. Indeed, the Belarusian Ambassador to Lithuania has been summoned to the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he received a note in connection with the incident at the Astravets NPP.
Mr Ulasevich repeatedly reported about the incidents at the construction site. His information proved to be reliable.
For example, the activist was the first to ring alarm bells after the collapse of the concrete structure at the site between the reactors. Before the official request of the Lithuanian side, representatives of the Belarusian NPP denied this information.
Another media storm erupted on the reactor vessel incident, when it fell during the transportation.
Lithuania has repeatedly criticized the construction of the nuclear power plant 50 kilometers from Vilnius and encouraged the rest of the countries of the United Europe to not buy electricity from the future NPP.
The first power-generating unit is supposed to be commissioned in late 2019. The second one will go online in 2020.