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Irina Sukhiy: Even if the nuclear power station is built it can always be closed down

20.08.2012  |  Publications   |  Yulia Inysheva, EuroBelarus, Photo by svaboda.org,  

After Belarusian and Russian governments have signed the contract for construction of the nuclear power plant (NPP) in the Astravets district, and the cornerstone was laid on the site, the mission of anti-nuclear ecologists is not over. In contrast, it...

After Belarusian and Russian governments have signed the contract for construction of the nuclear power plant (NPP) in the Astravets district, and the cornerstone was laid on the site, the mission of anti-nuclear ecologists is not over. In contrast, it is expected that the movement will only go forward. 

Last week, non-governmental organizations have started disseminating the statement against the arrests of the Belarusian anti-nuclear campaign (BAC) participants. The statement has been signed by more than forty representatives of Belarusian, Russian and Ukrainian organizations. 

The signers consider the arrests of the BAC activists as the pressure on ecologists, opponents of construction of the nuclear power plant in Belarus. They demand to abandon the practice of prosecution of public ecological activists for their criticism, and to stop the construction of the NPP.

- Through this public statement we address Russian and Belarusian authorities to cease prosecution of ecological activists. The statement points once again at the violation of the Espoo and Aarhus Conventions by Belarusian government, says the chairperson of the Public Association "Eco House" Irina Sukhiy.

Despite the fact that the general contract for construction of the nuclear power plant in Astravets has been signed, the activity of Belarusian anti-nuclear campaign does still make sense, notes Irina. Even if the nuclear power plant is constructed and launched, it can be closed down at any moment. There are a number of examples when construction of nuclear power station started and wasn’t not finished afterwards. For instance, this is the way how it was in Bulgaria. As a matter of fact, there had been constructed a nuclear power station near Minsk some time ago, but after the Chernobyl disaster it was restructured into a thermoelectric plant.

In addition, construction of a NPP is quite a long-term process. According to the general contract project, launching of the first power block is supposed to be launched in 2018, and the second block – in 2020. 

“This timeline is unrealizable. In average, a nuclear power station is being constructed within at least 10 years. Thus, during this period many things can change”, explains Irina Sukhiy. “Our task is to prevent catastrophic things. For example, at the moment the pit for the Astravets NPP is being constructed without its architecture design that violates the international law and technical norms”.

Belarus should stop prosecution of ecological and social activists for criticism, cease the construction of the NPP, stop repressions, and start a dialogue with the society”, is said in the statement. Such a dialogue process is demonstrated by the neighboring Lithuania, where a referendum regarding the construction of the nuclear power station will take place. Opinion polls show that over 60% of Lithuanians are against the NPP construction.

Lithuanian parliament speaker Irena Degutiene in the annual meeting of parliamentary speakers of the Nordic and the Baltic countries argued against Russian and Belarusian projects of nuclear power station. According to her, the lack of attention of the international community creates premises for construction of dangerous nuclear power stations close to the EU borders. Degutiene supposes that “it’s necessary to find a way to stimulate neighboring countries to a more close cooperation in the issues of the nuclear safety”.

This is the kind of cooperation that the statement is aimed at. Ecologists intend to give maximum information to people and authorities who take decisions about the problems emerging during construction of the NPP in Astravets.

 “Our task is to give the community truthful alternative point of view over the nuclear power”, says Irina Sukhiy. “You know, when the advertisement says “Nuclear energy is the energy of life”, it’s a kick in the teeth of liquidators, of victims of Chernobyl, and of people who live on the territories polluted by Chernobyl explosion. That’s why the mission of anti-nuclear ecologists is absolutely not finished after the construction contract has been signed”.

Collecting signatures supporting the statement will last up to August 23. 

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