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Belarus seeks professional dialogue with Lithuania over BelNPP

Belarus' Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection seeks to engage in professional dialogue with Lithuania over the project to build the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP) in Ostrovets, Belarus' First Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Iya Malkina told the media at the National Forum on Sustainable Development in Minsk on 24 January, BelTA has learned.

“We see bilateral dialogue as a priority in cooperation with our colleagues and there will be no progress unless we start holding it in a professional and consistent manner. Unfortunately, our partner ministry in Lithuania does not have a minister now, which slows down the process. But I think we will soon be able to resume the communication like the one we used to have in the last few years,” Iya Malkina noted.

Belarus is gearing up to participate in another intermediary session of the Espoo Convention parties due in Geneva on 5-7 February. The issue of the Belarusian NPP is on the agenda of the session. “We hope that this meeting will help us adjust our position [in relationship with Lithuania]. Next week, we will officially announce our position at the upcoming intermediary session. We understand that some structures have biased understanding of rules and procedures of the Espoo Convention so we are preparing for the event very thoroughly,” Iya Malkina said.

A Belarusian delegation to Geneva will include representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Energy Ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. “I hope the parties will hear our position,” first deputy minister added.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast using a Russian design featuring two VVER-1200 reactors with the total output capacity of 2,400MW. The first power-generating unit is scheduled for commissioning in 2019, with the second one to go online in 2020.