The construction site of the Ostrovets NPP chosen in violation of the Espoo Convention
On 7 February, the Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention in Geneva decided that Belarus had violated the Espoo Convention in choosing a construction site for its nuclear power plant. Reviewing violations by Belarus has attracted the international community’s attention.
“A joint and long-term effort provided by the Lithuanian institutions, international cooperation, and active diplomatic work have helped to achieve the EU’s united position on the Ostrovets NPP and to defend the values set out in the Espoo Convention. The choice of the construction site for the Ostrovets NPP is without justification. Today, the international community has reaffirmed it ", said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius.
According to Lithuania's Foreign Minister, it is regrettable that Belarus ignores the international experts' findings in order to follow the construction plan: "We hope and we invite our neighboring country – Belarus – to take into account the decision made by the Parties to the Espoo Convention and to implement the provisions of the Espoo Convention".
Currently, 44 states are Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention). The complaint that the Convention was violated in carrying out the environmental impact assessment of the Ostrovets NPP was lodged by Lithuania in 2011, when the country did not receive any responses from Belarus to substantive questions raised regarding the safety of the Ostrovets NPP and its potential impact on the environment and population of our country.
In 2013, the Implementation Committee of the Convention noted that Belarus had violated the provisions of the Convention in developing the NPP project and made recommendations for rectification. These recommendations were adopted at the sixth Meeting of the Parties to the Convention in 2014. The Committee was commissioned to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of these recommendations by Belarus.