The vote on the document took place at the plenary session of the EP in a debate and vote on Thursday 11, February 2021.
In a resolution adopted with 642 votes to 29, with 21 abstentions, Parliament criticises the hasty commissioning of the Ostrovets NPP and the continued lack of transparency and official communication regarding the frequent emergency shutdowns of the reactor and equipment failure.
Despite outstanding safety concerns, the plant started to generate electricity on 3 November 2020 without fully implementing recommendations made in the 2018 EU peer review and by the IAEA, MEPs say, expressing their discontent with the rush to start commercial operation of the plant in March 2021.
They call on the Commission to work closely with the Belarusian authorities to delay launching the plant until all EU stress test recommendations are fully implemented and all the necessary safety improvements are in place.
European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, speaking at a debate in the EP, said:
- In the current difficult political situation, the technical cooperation with Belarus on the completion of the peer review exercise represents the last remaining channel for maintaining accurate, up to date knowledge of the safety situation at Ostrovets
- The 3 Baltic States decided already in August 2020 that commercial exchanges with electricity from Belarus will be stopped as soon as the Ostrovets NPP becomes operational.
- We do not have evidence that would confirm that the electricity sold to the Baltic market by Russia would have been bought from Belarus. But we are looking closely at all information available on trade flows and we will continue following the developments.
- On the other hand, physical flows are unavoidable, as the 3 Baltic States are still connected to the grid with Russia and Belarus.
- That is why, we need to address this problem through the synchronisation process with the EU continental grid and the Commission is committed and contributes to it with €1 billion
- deplores that the project is being implemented despite protests of Belarusian citizens;
- deplores that members of Belarusian NGOs seeking to raise awareness regarding the construction of the plant in Ostrovets have been persecuted and unlawfully arrested;
- notes with concern that the plant is being implemented as a geopolitical project of Belarus and Russia;
- deplores the persistent lack of information regarding recurrent emergency shutdowns of the reactor and equipment failure during the commissioning stage of the plant in 2020, including breakdown of 4 voltage transformers and malfunctioning of cooling systems, whereas there were eight known incidents during the construction stage of the plant, including 2 incidents related with the reactor pressure vessel.
For the curious ones, let us recall that Lithuania is especially fiercely opposed to the NPP in Belarus.
The EU authorities literally forced Lithuania to close its own NPP in 2009.
- provided 70% of the republic's needs for cheap electricity,
- allowed it to be exported to Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and the Kaliningrad region.
By the way, the Ignalina NPP was located only 5 km from the border with Belarus.
Electricity stopped being traded between Belarus and the EU on 3 November, 2020 when the Ostrovets NPP was connected to the electricity grid.