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Environmentalists: Belarus nuclear power station would also endanger Ukraine

01.04.2010    source:

At a press conference before scheduled public hearings on plans to build a nuclear power plant in Belarus, members of civic organizations from Ukraine and Belarus presented serious arguments against the project.

A Civic Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out in Belarus giving a negative opinion regarding the project.  It was the authors of that assessment who, at the Kyiv press conference, explained why the plan posed dangers for Ukraine as well.

Tatyana Novikova, from Belarus, explains: “The Civic Environmental Impact Assessment gave a negative opinion regarding the project. The environmental impact assessment was made incorrectly and without objectively, and reflects advertising material from Rosatom. This misleads both the public and the people taking decisions. In the view of the Civic Environmental Impact Assessment group it would be simply dangerous to implement such a nuclear power plant project.”

Andrei Ozharovsky, a nuclear physicist and expert for the Civic Environmental Impact Assessment warns: “For the construction they are proposing a Russian project “AEC-2006” with a VVER-1200 reactor. Such a nuclear power plant has never been constructed or therefore tested in practice anywhere. We were also told that the RBMK Chernobyl reactor was reliable and safe. There are therefore no grounds for believing this technology to be safe. The idea is that Belarusians and Ukrainians become guinea pigs effectively for trying out the Rosatom project. And a possible accident could affect Ukraine’s territory”.

Other concerns relate to the need to store a large part of the radioactive waste on Belarusian territory, this being both dangerous and expensive.

The Head of the Rivne civic organization “Ecoclub”, Andriy Martynyuk points out that environmental impact assessment reports are supposed to include all possible adverse effects. The official assessment of the Belarusian nuclear power plant does not consider the impact from dealing with used nuclear fuel and radioactive wastes, and also ignores the harmful impact from taking the station out of use. He says that the existing project does not, therefore, exclude the burying of highly radioactive waste on the banks of the Dnipro River.

The general conclusion was that the plan could have an adverse effect on the environment and health in Ukraine, for example, if storage facilities for the used fuel and waste are located on the banks of the Dnipro or near the border with Ukraine.

From information provided by the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine

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