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Published 2013 06 13, 14:14

Lithuania denies delaying public discussion on Belarus' nuclear plant

Environment Minister Valentinas Mazuronis rejects Belarusian politicians' allegations that Vilnius is ignoring Minsk's proposal to hold a public discussion on a nuclear power plant that is being built in Astravyets, close to the border with Lithuania, saying that his country is keeping to the rules.
Nebeveikiantis reaktorius
Nebeveikiantis reaktorius / Irmanto Gelūno / BNS nuotr.

"Lithuania is not ignoring Belarus' proposals. They want to hold a public discussion as soon as possible, skipping some of the procedures and breaching the Espoo Convention. Our position is that the procedures have to be observed," Mazuronis told BNS on Thursday.

The Environment Ministry last month received Belarus' answers and experts are currently analyzing them, the minister said.

"According to the Espoo Convention, the country first gives its answers, which are then reviewed by experts. We are at this stage now. Then further clarification of the answers may be requested and the environmental impact assessment is being analyzed. A public discussion is organized only after the experts are fully acquainted (with the documents)," he said.

Belarusian Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Vitali Kulik said on Wednesday that Lithuania was not responding to Belarus' proposals to hold consultations on the Astravyets project.

The Espoo Convention Implementation Committee has instructed Belarus to continue environmental impact assessment procedures based on the Espoo Convention requirements in order to give answers to all the questions asked by Lithuania and take into consideration all comments.

With the financial help from Russia, Belarus expects to build its first nuclear power facility with a capacity of 2.4 gigawatts near the town of Astravyets, in the region of Grodno, some 50 kilometers from Vilnius.

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