Responding to the information that has been published regarding the letter of the Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation "Rosatom" to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry welcomes Rosatom’s willingness to comply with the provisions of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (the Espoo Convention), but points out that the essential requirement under the Convention is that environmental impact assessment is carried out before taking the final decision on project implementation, not vice versa. The Convention must be applied consistently, ensuring that a potential impact on both the environment and residents of Lithuania will be duly assessed, and that this will be taken into account during the implementation of the project.
Under the Espoo Convention, public and expert consultations are only meaningful unless all reasonable requests of the affected country have been satisfied. So far, the Lithuanian side has been waiting for answers to its basic questions regarding the development of the Kaliningrad nuclear power plant project which would not reveal any confidential information, such as “What are the site selection criteria? Have alternative sites been evaluated as required under the Espoo Convention? How to ensure adequate cooling of the reactor having in mind that the distance between the selected cooling water source, the River Nemunas, and the site is 10-12 km.? Why findings of the seismic hazard analysis are based on the evidence gathered in 1983 and 1999, and why was the 2004 earthquake of a higher intensity not considered? Why is there no information about a potential impact on the River Nemunas basin ecosystem? Why is there no information about emergency preparedness plans? How can this project be economically and technically feasible without the necessary power connections? When will stress tests for the Kaliningrad nuclear power plant be performed? Are there plans to install additional low-power reactors?”
These are just some of the unanswered questions, which the Lithuanian side has raised since 2010. Over the past three years, the Lithuanian authorities have officially requested Russia to answer these and other questions a dozen times. The last time was on 12 July 2013; however, no answers have been received yet. Mere formal compliance with the international requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Convention on Nuclear Safety, and the Espoo Convention, is not possible in the Kaliningrad nuclear power plant case.
Lithuania invites competent Russian authorities for constructive cooperation aimed at achieving a mutual objective, i.e., to ensure nuclear safety in the region.