We call for your immediate attention to the nuclear safety situation at the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant

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Dear Commissioner Simson,
Dear Commissioner Várhelyi,

We are writing to express our concerns and to ask for your immediate reaction to the reports about frequent emergencies at the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant in Astravyets, Belarus.

The first reactor of the Astravyets NPP started producing electricity on 7 November 2020. This was done by ignoring nuclear safety concerns voiced by the Belarusian civil society and the neighbouring countries. The European Parliament in its resolutions on the situation in Belarus of 16 September 2020 and on the continuous violations of human rights in Belarus of 25 November 2020 has also expressed its concerns about the launching of the Astravyets NPP, especially as the Belarusian government refuses to implement the EU Stress Tests recommendations.

Since the launch of the Astravyets NPP we learn about recurrent malfunctions and emergencies at the installation. The first accident took place on 8 November 2020, the next day after the Astravyets NPP started producing electricity. Due to the explosion of several voltage transformers, the output of the NPP was stopped for a few days. This week, the Belarusian non-governmental organization ECODOM issued a statement bringing to our attention concerns that there might have been another serious incident in which the coolant tank of the reactor could have been damaged. The Belarusian authorities did not provide timely and sufficient information regarding the 8 November incident and, so far, no official information is available about the emergency reported by the ECODOM.

We call for your immediate attention to the nuclear safety situation at the Astravyets NPP. We urge an official statement and inquiry to the Belarusian authorities regarding the emergency reported by the Belarusian NGO
ECODOM. Moreover, we wish to learn the official position of the European Commission regarding the Astravyets NPP and its recurrent emergencies. Please inform us about the action plan to respond to nuclear safety concerns voiced by the EU and Belarusian citizens.

Lastly, we stress that the planned fact-finding mission of the ENSREG to Belarus in December 2020 has vital importance for bringing clarity to this issue of a grave security concern. The Commission should make sure that the mission is duly implemented, has full access to the site, and that the Belarusian side’s attempts to use the mission as a bargaining chip for receiving concessions from the EU will not be successful.

Petras Auštrevičius, Renew Europe, Lithuania
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Greens/EFA, Germany
Michael Gahler, EPP, Germany
Anna Fotyga, ECR, Poland
Nathalie Loiseau, Renew Europe, France
Andrius Kubilius, EPP, Lithuania
Jutta Paulus, Greens/EFA, Germany
Sandra Kalniete, EPP, Latvia
Juozas Olekas, S&D, Lithuania
Andrzej Halicki, EPP, Poland
Reinhard Hans Bütikofer, Greens/EFA, Germany
Miriam Lexmann, EPP, Slovakia
Bronis Ropė, Greens/EFA, Lithuania
Michal Šimečka, Renew Europe, Slovakia
Attila Ara-Kovács, S&D, Hungary
Rasa Juknevičienė, EPP, Lithuania

Photo – European Parliament

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