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Sunday, 30.04.2017, 21:30
Lithuania hands note to Belarusian ambassador over incident with Astravyets reactor
The note asks the ambassador to thoroughly investigate the incident and notify Lithuania, the neighboring states and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the results of the probe. The document also expressed great concern with the repeated incidents in Astravyets, which Lithuania learns about from the media rather from official sources in Belarus.
According to Belarusian media reports, an incident occurred at the Belarusian railway station of Slavnoye on Monday when a new reactor body transported from a factory in Russia to Astravyets hit a railway power supply column.
In the note, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry restated its demand to invite a full-scale IAEA site assessment mission, which should analyze the suitability of the Astravyets site for a nuclear utility and its selection criteria, conduct thorough stress tests under EU methodology and involving international experts based on the 2011 agreement with the European Commission, as well as set up an international expert panel proposed by the United Nations (UN) Espoo Implementation Committee for thorough examination of the Astravyets project compliance to provisions of the convention.
According to data available to the ministry, the latest incident is the sixth incident that Lithuania is aware of at the Astravyets project this year.
Lithuanian experts believe that the July 10 incident when the 330-ton reactor body tumbled from 4 m was extremely dangerous and possibly involving an irreversible negative impact upon the safety of the nuclear facility under construction, therefore, Lithuania demanded replacement of the damaged reactor body.
Although Belarus then aimed to deny the incident and understate its consequences, active efforts of Lithuanian institutions led to Belarus' agreement to replace the tumbled reactor with a new one.