The first reactors to a nuclear power plant in Belarus

In the hustle and bustle of the violent protests against the far-fetched official result of the presidential election in Belarus, a message went, nearly: On Fri

The first reactors to a nuclear power plant in Belarus

In the hustle and bustle of the violent protests against the far-fetched official result of the presidential election in Belarus, a message went, nearly: On Friday, the country with the commissioning of its first nuclear power plant came a step closer. Since the fuel loading began in the first Block of the nuclear power plant of Astrawez, a small town in the North-West of the small country, just 20 kilometers from the border with the EU-member Lithuania away.

Catherine Wagner,

Economics correspondent for Russia and the CIS, based in Moscow.

F. A. Z.

In Belarus after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, about 70 per cent of the radioactive fall-out rained down blow down is the new nuclear power plant is not a big issue. There are many other problems which the people control after 26 years of authoritarian rule by President Aleksandr Lukashenka of frustration.

Since 2011, the economy is still largely under the control of the state has grown, on average, only one per cent in the year; by Lukashenka promised wage increases have failed to materialize. The last of the oil price crash in the spring and Lukaschenkas make use of the Coronavirus came through. Criticism has become more dangerous. Also environmentalists and opponents of nuclear power report of fines and other reprisals – as the activists remain isolated.

Protest from Lithuania

Violent Protest against the nuclear power plant of Astrawez, however, comes from across the border from the neighboring country of Lithuania, whose capital Vilnius is located only around 40 kilometers from the location. In the 100-Kilometer Radius around the plant that must be evacuated according to the recommendations of the International atomic energy Agency (IAEA) a serious incident within a day, a third of the Lithuanian rural population.

For years, the government in Vilnius is fighting, therefore, fiercely against the new power station being built by Russian state company Rosatom. But so far without success – later this year, the first reactor is to be connected to the electricity grid.

As a reaction to the fuel loading on Friday in Lithuania sent the foreign Ministry a protest note to the Belarusian Embassy, in the, so the foreign Ministry, the filling of the "unsafe nuclear power plant" of Astrawez "sharply" condemned. In addition, you have stated in the Note that Belarus had violated with the project, the principles of openness, transparency and "good neighbourhood" and that the power plant in the vicinity of Vilnius to ensure because of unresolved safety problems and of the inability of a "culture of safety" during the construction phase, a "direct threat to Lithuania's national security, its environment and population" constitutes.

a number of accidents

Vilnius plays, among other things, on an incident from the year 2016, as a reactor shell made of steel was dropped from a crane from a height of four meters, but supposedly undamaged. The authorities responded only after two weeks, as the Belarusian environment had reported conservationists and opposition media has long since moved on. Similar to hesitant Minsk had expressed himself, as in the spring of the same year, the structure of a building on the site collapsed. In addition, you must follow to be informed, according to a UN Convention in the case of border-related projects with potentially large environmental the neighbouring country at an early stage – this obligation was not complied with Minsk as well.

Updated Date: 11 August 2020, 14:19

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