“I guarantee – it is a lie,” stated the chairman of the Lithuanian UNESCO commission.
During the public hearings on construction of Astravets nuclear power plant (Ostrovets) held in Vilnius on March 2 the head of the Belarusian delegation, vice director of the Republican unitary enterprise BelNIPIenergoprom Uladzimir Babrou stated that the nuclear power plant won’t have impact on environment.
As said by other members of the delegation, technical pollution of the river of Vilia - Neris is to be liquidated by diversion of water to ditches, and there will be no radioactive contamination at all, BelaPAN informs.
Lithuanians who gathered for the public hearings were amused by such statements. “I guarantee – it is a lie. Even when a housewife fries pancakes, some negative effect is taking place,” noted the chairman of the Lithuanian commission Romas Pakalnis. “There will be impact; we can only speak about its volume”.
According to Pakalnis, it is naïve to think that Vilnius dwellers could be persuaded that the future NPP is safe: “After aggregates’ passage water is to get to Vilnius. Do you think Vilnius dwellers can approve this project?”
“Naturally there is a danger, but where it is – in real radiation doses or in our minds only?” stated Radiology Institute Director Viktar Averyn.
As said by him, the problems here are rather psychological: “Human health depends not only on radiation. There are risks certainly, but what are they? We drink, smoke, violate traffic rules, fly in planes – this is radiation as well”.
To the question why the site immediately adjacent to the Lithuanian border and Lithuanian capital has been chosen, Uladzimir Babrou answered that research was held “in all aspects, all the possible sites were considered”. “As a results f geological research and IAEA recommendations the only one priority site was left, in Astravets district,” Babrou said.
Answering to the comment from the audience what absence of alternative means, Babrou stated: “I have analogous questions to the Lithuanian side: you are planning to construct a nuclear power plant near our borders as well”.
The head of the delegation believes that any site in Belarus would lie near the border with other states, so experts were guided only by results of geological research when choosing the place.
As a result, the discussion ended by resentment and heated discussion with hard words. Many participants left the hall earlier because of the low quality of translation, provided by the Belarusian Embassy.
“In case of disaster, Lord forbid, our capital would be destroyed, the territory of our country contaminated by 80%. Why it is not on the report? It is genocide of the Lithuanian nation!” stated deputy chairperson of the Commission for City Development of Vilnius City Municipality Council and a representative of several public associations Rasa Navickienė.
The chairman of the ecological community “Atgaja” Saulius Piksrys agreed with her: “I have prepared many questions, but under experience of Ignalina NPP exploitation I saw that there is no point in asking them. What was going on here is laughable: many long and beautiful speeches about nothing, concrete questions were not answered. The public hearing cannot be approved as valid”.
During improvised voting, to the indignation of Belarusian Ambassador Uladzimir Drazhyn, the statement was approved by majority vote of those present I the assembly hall by raising hands. “By what authority are you holding the vote? We are not passing a decision yet,” Drazhyn said. “But we, the meeting, have passed a decision already,” Rasa Navickienė stated.
After the meeting Drazhyn said to journalists that despite of difficulties participants of the meeting managed to understand each other, and the meeting could be considered successful.
Not only Lithuanians disagreed with that, but representatives of the Belarusian community, who had arrived to Vilnius.
“I am surprised how poorly the hearings were organized, nor speaking about the quality of answers to questions of the Lithuanian Environmental protection Ministry,” said Iryna Sukhij, Chair of Ekodom NGO. “Our people haven’t answered to the question about the radiation dose in Vilnius at all”.
“The environment impact assessment report has been done carelessly, with lots of blatant mistakes,” Sukhij believes.
After the hearings Lithuanian public is to send its reaction to the Environmental protection Ministry of the country before the end of the month. Considering these recommendations Lithuania is to form its position on construction of the NP by Belarus, but it does not have veto right as a foreign state.