ENERGY : LITHUANIANS STILL FEAR NUCLEAR PLANTS IN RUSSIA AND BELARUS.

Lithuanians continue to be worried about nuclear power installations planned in both the Kaliningrad region (Russia) and in Belarus. Lithuania accuses its two neighbours of pushing ahead with nuclear power projects without complying with international regulations on nuclear safety, security as well as transboundary environmental impact assessments. The matter was briefly discussed, to little avail, at the Environment Council, on 20 December 2010. No significant EU action, however, appears to have materialised in response to Lithuania's concerns.

Vilnius has previously urged the Commission to be more proactive about the future nuclear power plant (NPP) near the small town of Neman in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave bordering both Lithuania and Poland. Aside from seeing the Russian NPP as direct competition for their new (planned) plant at Ignalina, the Lithuanians point to security and other technical concerns that must be raised by the EU with the Russians.

Belarus' new nuclear power plant project, too, worries Lithuania. It would be built near Astravets in Belarus, only some 45 km from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. Lithuania argues that Belarus' environmental impact assessment has not been carried out properly, notably as no reasonable alternatives were proposed. Belarus is a party to the 1991 UN Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, the so-called Espoo Convention. In all events, Vilnius is still waiting for answers from Minsk.

Impact assessment incomplete

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