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Nuclear incident in Belarus: Lithuanian authorities alert citizens

December 4, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, incidents | Leave a comment

Incidents at Belarus nuclear station have alarmed neighbouring Lithuania

Lithuania wary of incident at Belarus nuclear plant  https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/lithuania-weary-of-incident-at-belarus-nuclear-plant/   Benas Gerdžiūnas |   1 Dec 20LRT.lt/en  Lithuania has asked Belarus for clarification after its new nuclear plant located some 50 kilometres from the country’s capital suffered an incident just five days after launch.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko took part in the opening of the plant on 6 November, where he said the launch of the Astravyets NPP was as “ordinary” as building a metro.

“Belarus is becoming a nuclear power,” he declared.

Several voltage-measuring transformers outside of the nuclear reactor exploded during an incident on 7 November, according to sources at TUT.by, an independent media outlet in Belarus.

On Monday, the Belarusian Energy Ministry said that “a need to replace the measuring equipment arose” during testing, without providing further details.

Lithuania’s State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) said the plant is still undergoing testing. However, “we have also received no information about the [planned] next steps to launch the plant”, VATESI told BNS in a written comment.

Lithuania has been one of the most ardent critics of the nuclear plant built by the Russian state atomic corporation Rosatom and funded by a loan from the Kremlin.

Vilnius says the plant is unsafe and was built in breach of international safety standards. Minsk denies all allegations.

In September, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland had sent a joint statement to the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and contracting parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), calling on Belarus to start addressing nuclear safety issues without delay.

At the same time, the Russian company Rosatom is in talks with Belarus about the construction of a second nuclear power plant and a research reactor in the country, Rosatom chief Alexander Likhachev announced on Tuesday in a video statement.

In August, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania agreed not to purchase electricity from the plant.

The Baltic states are gearing up to switch from the Russian-controlled BRELL electricity grid that also includes Belarus, and synchronise with the continental European system by 2025.

(Benas Gerdžiūnas, LRT.lt/en | Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)

December 3, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, safety | Leave a comment

Belarus shuts down its newly inaugurated nuclear power plant to replace equipment

November 10, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, politics, safety | Leave a comment

Belarus opens nuclear plant opposed by neighboring Lithuania

Belarus opens nuclear plant opposed by neighboring Lithuania
The president of Belarus has formally opened the country’s first nuclear power plant over the objections of neighboring Lithuania,
abc News ByThe Associated Press, 8 November 2020, KYIV, Ukraine — Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday formally opened the country’s first nuclear power plant, a project sharply criticized by neighboring Lithuania……

Lithuania has long opposed the plant, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of its capital, Vilnius. Lithuanian authorities say the project has been plagued by accidents, stolen materials and the mistreatment of workers.

In line with a law banning electricity imports from Belarus once the nuclear plant started up, Lithuania’s Litgrid power operator cut the inflow of electricity from Belarus when the plant began producing electricity on Tuesday…….

Belarus suffered severe damage from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which spewed radioactive fallout from a plant in then-Soviet Ukraine across large areas of Europe. That painful legacy has fueled opposition to the nuclear plant project in Belarus.

Lithuania closed its sole Soviet-built nuclear power plant in 2009. In recent weeks, Lithuanian authorities have handed out free iodine pills to residents living near the Belarus border. Iodine can help reduce radiation buildup in the thyroid in case of a leak at the nuclear plant. https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/belarus-opens-nuclear-plant-opposed-neighboring-lithuania-74073929

November 9, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, politics international | Leave a comment

Europe still without a final disposal solution for its most dangerous nuclear waste

Le Monde 4th Nov 2020, Europe still without a final disposal solution for its most dangerous
nuclear waste. The first edition of the World Report on Nuclear Waste,
published Wednesday in its French version, provides elements of comparison
of management methods in different countries.

https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2020/11/04/l-europe-toujours-sans-solution-de-stockage-definitif-de-ses-dechets-nucleaires-les-plus-dangereux_6058412_3244.html

November 5, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, wastes | Leave a comment

Anxieties, memories of Chernobyl, as Belarus launches new nuclear power station

November 5, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Lithuania strongly opposed to Belarus developing nuclear power close to their border

October 30, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, PERSONAL STORIES, politics international | Leave a comment

Belarus postpones launch of nuclear reactor

Radio Free Europe 9th Oct 2020, Belarus says it has postponed the full launch of the first reactor at its
Astravets nuclear power plant by two years to 2022. The plant, located near
the Lithuanian border, was scheduled to be launched on October 6 until the
cabinet order on October 9. Built by the Russian state firm Rosatom and
financed by Moscow with a $10 billion loan, the project is opposed by
neighboring EU member Lithuania, whose capital, Vilnius, is just 50
kilometers away. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are moving to a full
decoupling from their Soviet-era common power system by 2025.

https://www.rferl.org/a/belarus-postpones-launch-of-nuclear-plant-near-lithuania-to-2022/30884232.html

October 12, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, politics | Leave a comment

Safety of Belarus nuclear power station in question after IAEA report

Deficiencies discovered during IAEA INIR mission in Belarus may cause negative impact on safety of Belarusian NPP, Vates, 08/27/2020 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conducted the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Phase 3 mission from 24 February to 4 March 2020 in the Republic of Belarus and recently published the report with 7 recommendations and 6 suggestions.

The mission evaluated the development status in the areas linked to Belarus nuclear infrastructure such as regulatory framework, nuclear safety, radioactive waste management, financial and human resources, nuclear security in order to commission and operate the first nuclear power plant (hereinafter – NPP).

The report emphasizes, that Belarus needs to further develop its legal and regulatory framework of nuclear energy, to assure regulatory body independence in cooperation with technical support organizations, to ensure sufficient funds for decommissioning and radioactive waste management, to allocate responsibility for establishing the radioactive waste management organization, to ensure reliable restart of the grid system in the event of total collapse once the NPP is in operation, to finalize all necessary programmes for starting operation, to ensure long term arrangements for maintenance of Belarusian NPP and to ensure capacity and competence of operating organisation.

Recommendations and suggestions concerning improvement of nuclear energy infrastructure are related to:
–    deficiencies in legal and regulatory framework of nuclear safety;
–    assurance of independence of regulatory body;
–    deficiencies in implementing Integrated Management Systems of  regulatory body and operating organization;
–    ensuring readiness to restart of the grid system in the event of total collapse once the NPP is in operation;
–    assurance of Belarussian  NPP maintenance after the warranty period;
–    deficiencies in the readiness of the physical security system in the operating organization;
–    deficiencies in establishing responsibilities in the area of the radioactive waste management;
–    international obligations (Belarus has not yet joined the Amendment to the Convention of Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and not ratified Protocol Additional  to IAEA for the Application of Safeguards).

In VATESI experts’ opinion, not implementation of recommendations and suggestions, indicated in the report, may cause negative impact on safety of the Belarusian NPP during its commissioning and consequent operation…… http://www.vatesi.lt/index.php?id=551&L=1&tx_news_pi1[news]=882&tx_news_pi1[controller]=News&tx_news_pi1[action]=detail&cHash=e3cdcce90fb55e6650c0eb887e2cce12

August 29, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, safety | Leave a comment

Lithuania standing firm against sales of electricity from Belarus’ new nuclear power station

June 27, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Lithuania, Belarus sign nuclear incident notification agreement

May 26, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, politics international | Leave a comment

Belarus to get a new nuclear reactor along with $10 billion debt to Russia

Belarus Says New Nuclear Power Plant To Go Online In Autumn, Radio Free Europe, 13 Apr 20,  Officials in Minsk say a nuclear power plant being constructed in western Belarus will be launched during the summer and start producing electricity in the autumn…..

The plant is being built in the town of Astravets near the border with Lithuania. It is just 40 kilometers from Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius.

In January, Lithuanian Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas told RFE/RL that the Belarusian plant is “a threat to our national security, public health, and environment.”

“The key question is the site selection, which was done politically — geopolitically,” Vaiciunas told RFE/RL.

Plans for the nuclear plant were unveiled by Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka in 2008 when Minsk received a $10 billion loan from Moscow for the project.

The general contractor for the Belarusian nuclear power plant building is Atomstroiexport, an affiliate of Russia’s state-owned Rosatom.    Based on reporting by TASS, ONT, and RFE/RL correspondent Matthew Luxmoore

April 14, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, politics international | Leave a comment

Belarus to swap gas dependence on Moscow for nuclear dependence on Moscow 

March 24, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania oppose energy imports from a Belarusian nuclear power plant

February 15, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, opposition to nuclear, politics international | Leave a comment

Anxiety in Belarus and Lithuania, over new Chernobyl-style nuclear power station

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, safety | Leave a comment