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VATESI signed bilateral agreement for early notification of nuclear emergencies

On May 25, 2020, State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) of Lithuania signed bilateral interinstitutional agreement with the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus for early notification about emergencies in nuclear facilities and for exchange of nuclear safety important information.

Under Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident, such bilateral agreements between neighbouring countries are usual international practice.

According to this agreement, both authorities, striving to protect public by minimising the potential radiation related risks and consequences, agreed to immediately provide information in case of emergency and in case of radiation monitoring system indicates radiation dose rate level that could be hazardous to the public health. This agreement is also important, because it applies for information exchange about safety of all nuclear facilities in Belarus and Lithuania and for important decisions to ensure that safety.

Agreement, which comes into force from the moment of its signing, allows VATESI in case of possible emergency having received early notification from Belarus, to promptly alert other responsible authorities.

As nuclear fuel has already delivered to the Belarussian NPP site at Ostrovets and commissioning works of the 1st unit being continued, the potential risk of nuclear or radiological emergency has already appeared.

Despite this signed agreement, all Lithuania raised questions regarding environmental and nuclear safety issues related to the implementation of the Belarusian NPP project on the Ostrovets site remain open. Lithuania has consistently taken the position that Belarusian NPP should not be commissioned before implementation of all international environmental and nuclear safety requirements.