EU Lawmakers Ask for ‘Illegal’ Nuclear Plant in Belarus to be ‘Terminated’

Belarus has indicated that upon conclusion of stress tests on its Russian-built nuclear plant it will present its conclusions to the Commission. This is whatChristos Stylianides,Commissioner in charge of Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, toldtodayEU lawmakers worried that thefuture Belarus nuclear plant, built close to Lithuania’s border, will not be upto EU and international standards.

Stylianides assured MEPs in Strasbourg that Belarus promised to deliver its assessment report in 2017 at the latest. But Polish and Lithuanian European protested today that as a rule Belarus hasuntil now failed to honour its commitments. — "Have we learned the lessons of Chernobyl?” asked one angry Lithuanian MEP.

Many EU lawmakers asked the Commission to "terminate” the construction of the plant, built by a "dictator”.

Belarus has its first nuclear power plant already under construction and plans to have it operating from operating from 2018, with Russian finance.In November 2013,Belarus PresidentAlyaksandr Lukashenka signed a decreeauthorisingthe construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant,near the town of Ostrovets, some 180km from Minsk.

The way became immediately clear for Atomstroyeksport, the construction wing of Russia’s state atomic company Rosatom, to start building the facility.The plant atOstrovetsin thenorthwest, near the Lithuanian border, will have two Russian reactors capable of generating some 2.4 gigawatts of electricity.The Belarus governmentexpects the first unitto belaunched in 2018 and the second in 2020.

Russia is also extending a loan of some $10 billion to Belarus to cover construction costs.

Last week, the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry has issued licenses to three construction and installation companies, which are taking part in the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

The United States has repeatedly expressed disappointment after Belarus suspended its involvement in an old plan to get rid of its stockpile of highly enriched uranium withU.S.assistance.

The U.S. State Department still insists it hopes Belarus "intends to meet its stated objective of the elimination of all of its stocks of highly enriched uranium.”

The State Department said this would be a "responsible contribution to global security.”

Lukashenka has said Belarus has "hundreds of kilograms” of highly enriched uranium from Soviet times — material that could potentially be diverted for use in a nuclearweapon.

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