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Deputy PM slams Lithuania’s claims against NPP construction in Belarus

June 13, 2017, 21:45 UTC+3 MINSK

The deputy PM says Lithuania’s claims against construction of a nuclear power plant in western Belarus have political underpinning

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MINSK, June 13. /TASS/. Lithuania’s claims against construction of a nuclear power plant in the Grodno region in western Belarus have political underpinnings, Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko told reporters on Tuesday in Minsk on the sidelines of the 7th Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention).

"The site (where construction of the Ostrovets N-plant is in progress - TASS) meets absolutely all the requirements for building a nuclear plant," he said. "Assessment of the environmental impact was also done quite professionally, as required by the Espoo Convention but, sadly enough, some questions still exist."

"The claims Lithuania is putting forward fall into the category of politically contrived questions rather than into the sphere of technology and security," Semashko said.

He voiced the hope the Espoo Convention meeting in Minsk would put period to the disputes with Lithuania over the Ostrovets project.

Semashko indicated that the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, which is taking part in the project, shows the site of the Belarusian nuclear plant to its potential customers as an exemplary one.

"Belarus chose the Russian design of the plant as the most reliable and advanced one," he said.

He recalled that construction was proceeding strictly as scheduled, with Unit 1 due to come on stream in 2019 and Unit 2, in 2020.

As regards the financing of the project, Semashko recalled Russia has issued a loan of $ 10 bln to Minsk for the purpose.

About 200 representatives of the forty-five Espoo Convention signatory countries, including environmental ministers and deputy ministers, as well as high-rank officials from international organizations and financial institutions have gathered in Minsk to attend the high-level meeting. They will be expected to sign a Minsk declaration at the final session.

As the Ostrovets site is located a mere 57 km away from Lithuania’s capital Vilnius, the Lithuanian government says Minsk did not present an assessment of the risks the facility might wield on the environment and it is ostensibly reluctant to abide by provisions of international treaties.

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