Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Seimas: Lithuania takes a principled and clear-cut position on the Nuclear Power Plant in Astravyets
Press release, 26 May 2017
Photos of the Office of the Seimas (author Olga Posaškova)
On 26 May 2017, Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Seimas, attended a briefing held in Buivydžiai, a village in Vilnius District, where he met foreign ambassadors residing in Lithuania. The Speaker of the Seimas said that Lithuania took a principled and clear-cut position on the issue of the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).
“The construction of the Astravyets NPP has to be suspended for several reasons: it does not comply with international nuclear safety and environmental standards; there have been numerous serious violations during the development of the project; there are constant serious incidents on the construction site of the NPP; there are obvious signs of poor safety culture in the workplace; institutions responsible for the supervision of nuclear safety and organisations engaged in the construction lack competence and experience related to developing nuclear power plants; and there are constant attempts to manipulate international documents and public opinion both in Belarus and the neighbouring countries,” Mr Pranckietis said.
He also noted that an inappropriately selected site for the construction of the NPP is among the major threats and constitutes an ultimate violation.
“The site was chosen by political decision prior to transboundary environmental impact assessment, which would have been very unlikely in a democratic country. That is why research has not been carried out; it is avoided to grant access to international experts for the assessment of the choice of the site; authorities manipulate international instruments.
The Speaker of the Seimas maintained that the Astravyets NPP was a geopolitical rather than economically sound project. “It poses a threat to our national security. Therefore, in February 2017, political groups of the Seimas signed an Accord on Joint Actions against the Unsafe Nuclear Power Plant in Astravyets. On 20 April 2017, the Seimas unanimously adopted a Law on Necessary Measures against Threats Posed by Unsafe Nuclear Power Plants in Third Countries,” Mr Pranckietis said.
In the view of the Speaker of the Seimas, selective application of international requirements, in particular, attempts to legitimise the project retrospectively, cannot be tolerated. “This is not only a threat to the environment and population of the EU, but also a matter of supremacy of international law. On numerous occasions, EU Member States have expressed their principled position concerning application of nuclear safety and environmental standards in the neighbourhood. It is now particularly important that the EU unanimously sends a strong signal that there will be no compromise on safety,” the Speaker of the Seimas said.
The Friday briefing with the participation of foreign ambassadors in Buivydžiai Village was organised by the Ministry on Environment with a view to presenting threats related to the nuclear power plant that is currently under construction in Astravyets.
Dalia Vencevičienė, Senior Adviser to the Speaker of the Seimas, tel. +370 5 239 6016, mob. +370 698 42 071, e-mail: [email protected]