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Saturday, 07.12.2013, 18:59
Lithuania: Belarusian NPP environmental impact assessment lacks analysis, quality
The Ministry of Environment said that informing neighbouring countries about environmental impact assessment of NPP construction is one of the Espoo Convention's requirements. According to the Espoo Convention, cross-border EIA process must be completed before the NPP construction site is selected and construction begins.
The Ministry of Environment notes that Belarusian NPP environmental impact assessment translation into Lithuanian was carried out by Belarusian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. Therefore, Lithuanian Ministry of Environment takes no responsibility for the quality and content of the submitted documents – including discrepancies with the original EIA documents.
It should be noted that responsible Lithuanian authorities (Ministries of Environment, Energy and Foreign Affairs, the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI), Lithuanian Geological Survey, the Radiation Protection Centre, the Environmental Protection Agency etc.) have analyzed the information submitted by Belarus and concluded that EIA documentation in Lithuanian lacks alternative construction site analysis as required by the Espoo Convention. Furthermore, EIA translation into Lithuanian lacks quality and does not take into account safety issues raised by the Lithuanian side.
In 2011 June Lithuania complained to the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee regarding likely violation of Belarusian NPP environmental impact assessment process. On 2013 April 15 the Committee issued a conclusion stating that Belarus had violated Espoo Convention provisions. The Committee urged Belarus to submit thorough answers to all questions raised by Lithuania, to take into account Lithuanian experts' observations and ensure that Lithuanian public is presented information regarding the construction of the NPP.
In order for Lithuanian public to prepare for public deliberation in Lithuania, the Ministry of Environment has submitted a request for Belarus to provide answers to main questions regarding the NPP safety and to submit amended EIA documentation in accordance with the Espoo Convention requirements and the conclusions of the Implementation Committee.
Astravets NPP construction site is 50 kilometres from Vilnius.