EU official warns Minsk over safety of nuclear power plant
The European Commission's vice president warned on Thursday that Belarus should prove the safety of its nuclear power plant before the European Union could resume its energy dialogue with the country.
Speaking in Lithuania’s Seimas (parliament), Maros Sefcovic, often referred to as the European Union's energy boss, emphasized the importance of stress tests for the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant that would meet EU standards, according to news website delfi.lt.
Mr. Sefcovic said he believed that Minsk understood that the EU took the issue very seriously.
The official said that the results of the stress tests would be examined by EU energy regulators that would include Lithuanian representatives who would be able to present their recommendations regarding the Belarusian project.
The regulators will tell Minsk what should be improved and that all safety requirements should be met, said Mr. Sefcovic.
On May 4, Prime Minister Andrey Kabyakow established an interagency working group for drawing up a report on stress tests for the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant.
The group is expected to complete the report before August 31, 2017.
The Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant underwent several stress tests at the end of 2016.
The plant is currently under construction in the Astravets district, Hrodna region, some 10 miles from the Lithuanian border. Its two reactors are to have a total generating capacity of up to 2,400 megawatts. The first reactor is expected to be put into operation in 2019 and the other in July 2020.
On April 20, Lithuania's Seimas (parliament) passed a law prohibiting electricity imports from "unsafe foreign nuclear power plants," including the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant.
According to Vilnius, the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant is unsafe because the construction project violates environmental, nuclear and radiation security standards and international agreements and conventions.