19 January 2020, Sunday, 19:14
The Wait Is Nearly Over

Energy Ministry: Decision on nuclear power plant construction is political, and there is no disputing about it

Energy Ministry: Decision on nuclear power plant construction is political, and there is no disputing about it

The Energy Ministry of Belarus states that a decision on the nuclear power plant construction is not a topic for public discussion.

It is stated in the answers to complaints received by Belarusian citizens from this state institution, “European Belarus” website writes.

Earlier several hundreds Belarusians sent letters to the Energy Ministry demanding to stop construction of the nuclear power plant in Astravets because it makes no economic sense, and biased estimation of the nuclear power plant impact on environment, which considerably minimizes ecological threat.

“The proposed project of NPP-2006 with VVR-1200 reactors is untried (only 2 reactors of such type work in the world), unreliable (as exploitation of the NPP in China and two similar reactors VVER-440 and VVER-1000 in different countries showed), and electricity produced by it is too expensive (21 cent per 1 kWh as the Russian side states),” the citizens wrote in their addresses.

“A statement about the possible impact of the Belarusian nuclear power plant on the environment” should be recalled the ordering party, as mistakes in the “statement” cannot be corrected immediately, as they have principled and even concept-base nature. Besides, many important parts are absent there, and in general, the “Statement” falls short of the requirements of the order of holding evaluation of environmental impact stipulated by the Decree number 30 of the Natural Resources and Nature’s protection ministry of June 17, 2005,” the complaint reads.

The authors of the letters confirm their demands by reference to “Critical remarks concerning Belarusian nuclear power station’s preliminary environmental impact statement” prepared by the Belarusian Green Party, “Scientists for nuclear-free Belarus” movement, “Ecoprotection!” group (Russia), “Ecodom’ NGO (Belarus), scientific monographs and official documents.

In its answer the Energy Ministry offers arguments against, offering facts in favour of the nuclear power station construction, saying that the decision to construct the nuclear power plant was adopted in January 2008 by the Security Council of Belarus considering economic, ecological and social consequences of such a decision. But the main argument of the ministry is in the end of the letter of the ministry: “We attract your attention to the fact that the political decision on NPP construction in Belarus had been adopted, and it is not subject to public discussions,” the answer reads.

In other words, the authorities do not care about citizens’ opinion on the nuclear power plant construction, which expediency is at least debatable.

However, the public was not asked for advice in the issue of the nuclear power plant construction earlier as well. Representatives of many independent ecological and human rights organisations were not allowed to take part in “public hearings” in Astravets in early October. Instead of them the audience was filled by some people. Each of them was given flags and posters advertising NPP construction. The building where the hearings were held, was cordoned off by riot police, entrance roads to the city were closed by police. And Russian ecology expert Andrei Ozharovski was arrested when he tried to bring into the building the documents criticizing the official report on environment impact, and sentenced to 7 days of arrest on “petty hooliganism” false charges.