Nuclear power safety discussed

  • 2010-06-17
  • Staff and wire reports

Director General Yukiya Amano of the IAEA led talks in Vilnius.

VILNIUS - The President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite met with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, who was in Vilnius to attend the international round-table discussion on regional nuclear energy projects, to be held in Vilnius on June 16, reports ELTA. The two convened to discuss the progress of implementation of regional nuclear energy projects and nuclear safety and environmental aspects.

The discussion centered around the future of nuclear energy, related environmental issues, energy security in the Baltic Sea region, the energy situation in Lithuania after the closure of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, plans to construct a new nuclear power plant in Visaginas, and other nuclear energy projects in the region such as power plants in the Kaliningrad region and Belarus.

“It is in the interest of us all to make sure that nuclear energy projects in the Baltic Sea region - the Kaliningrad exclave, and the power plants underway in Belarus - are implemented in accordance with generally accepted international nuclear safety and environmental standards set out in the Espoo Convention. Even the slightest deviation from these standards would compromise nuclear energy in the region,” said the president.

She deplored the fact that sites for these power plants were selected without having clear-cut criteria, without conducting an environmental impact assessment and without consulting the neighboring countries more extensively. Grybauskaite noted that Lithuania gave special attention to environmental protection and nuclear safety measures in designing its new nuclear power plant in Visaginas. In 2009, the Lithuanian Ministry of Environment conducted an environmental impact assessment for the plant, in accordance with the procedures required under the Espoo Convention and by way of consultations with the neighboring countries of Belarus, Poland and Latvia as well as with other stakeholder countries.
The Lithuanian civic society was also involved in open and transparent consultations.

The Espoo Convention, signed in 1991 in Finland, requires performing environmental impact assessments and holding international consultations on an early planning stage of projects that are liable to cause cross-border environmental damage. “I am confident that the new nuclear power plant in Lithuania will enhance energy security in the region and contribute to addressing challenges caused by climate change,” added Grybauskaite.

The IAEA was established in 1957 as an international organization for scientific and technical cooperation to foster the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Lithuania joined the group in 1993.