Sekmokas to use ‘levers’

  • 2011-03-30
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - Belarus has no better site for a nuclear power plant than at Astravets, said the chief of the Belarusian BelNIPIenergopron, Andrej Rykov, reports news agency ELTA. “While initially over 70 sites were found to be suitable for the construction, at the end there were only three: Krasnopolyanskaya in Chausy district, Kukshinevskaya in Mogilev region and Astravets. Geological, geophysical, hydrological and aerometeorological research studies were carried out in all of them.”
In the Mogilev region, water-flooded chalk lies 25-40 meters deep. “Additional studies were performed; the IAEA was addressed for consultation. The general view was that it was an aggravating factor, therefore, Astravets was chosen. This is the logic behind our decision,” the BelNIPIenergopron director noted.

The construction work at the site will begin in September, Belarusian Energy Minister Alexander Ozerets said earlier. Plans are to build a 2.4-megawatt nuclear power plant under a Russian-directed project in Astravets district, Grodno region, just 50 kilometers away from Vilnius.

Lithuanian Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas says Lithuania has “levers” to change these plans as he returned from an extraordinary meeting of the EU Energy Council. Sekmokas intends to present a special draft law providing for the levers in the spring session of the Seimas. He refused to disclose more details.

“We believe that we have the leverage. We will present a draft law, currently under discussion, which would allow the use of certain levers. It is too early to talk about them today, as we have not drafted the law yet. There are various options available, this law first, but we can also propose a directive to the European Commission. First of all, we need to discuss it with the European Commission, and then we will see what we should do next,” the minister said on March 23.

Sekmokas stated that he expressed a stringent position at the Council with regard to nuclear plant construction projects around Lithuania, which drew support from other countries. “I voiced strong opposition to the construction of the plants [in Kaliningrad and Belarus], because they must meet safety requirements with a real environmental impact assessment [done], rather than an eye-deceiving one, and [my position] was taken into account,” said Sekmokas.