"Being a nuclear state, planning the construction of a new nuclear power plant and having spent fuel storage facilities, Lithuania knows fairly well how important it is to ensure protection of nuclear materials so that they did not get into the hands of criminals. Therefore Lithuania will continue contributing to international efforts to ensure safe use of nuclear materials," the president said.
According to the President's Office statement, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano underlined that he strongly supported Lithuania's initiative to set up a Center of Excellence for Nuclear Security and made an official promise to provide Lithuania with start-up and development support.
On 12 March, the Lithuanian government backed the establishment of a Center of Excellence for Nuclear Security aimed at stepping-up fight against smuggling of nuclear materials. Lithuania hopes this center to become regional in the future.
Universal nuclear standards
The same strict safety standards should apply to not only existing but also planned nuclear power plants inside and outside the European Union, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has also said in Seoul.
At the plenary session of the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, with measures to ensure safe use of nuclear materials and nuclear facilities on its agenda, the president underlined that such safety standards are a prerequisite for building confidence in nuclear energy.
"Lithuania is acting in full compliance with all safety standards at both the Ignalina nuclear power plant, which is being decommissioned, and the planned Visaginas nuclear power plant, and we expect the same behavior from neighboring countries. Stress tests should be obligatory for all as nuclear accidents respect no borders," the president emphasized.
According to the president, the IAEA should have a stronger mandate to monitor safety of nuclear facilities. The site and infrastructure review missions of this international organization must be obligatory for all and the results should be made public.
Lithuania's initiative that stress tests should be carried out not only at nuclear power plants operating in the European Union, but also worldwide, receives support by President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso and most countries participating in the Nuclear Security Summit, according to the statement by the President's Office.
The Nuclear Security Summit adopted a joint communiqué laying out national commitments in ensuring the nuclear safety as well as safe use and transportation of nuclear materials, with a particular focus on information sharing, the management of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, and on enhancing the IAEA's role in implementing the nuclear security measures.
In a recent interview to the Korean media, Grybauskaitė said that the projects of construction of nuclear power plants in Belarus and Kaliningrad lacked transparency.
Lithuania has expressed its concern on numerous occasions over plans to build nuclear power plants near the Lithuanian border in the Russian region of Kaliningrad and Belarus. In cooperation with other Baltic states, Lithuania plans to build a new nuclear power plant in Visaginas.