According to a report by the independent Belarusian media TUT.by, a technical failure of the Belarusian Astravyets nuclear power plant has rendered the nuclear power plant inoperable.
Litgrid, the operator of the Lithuanian transmission system, said the nuclear power plant has not been operational since noon on Sunday. The nuclear power plant started generating electricity on November 3, and this technical failure occurred only 5 days later.
Belarusian President Lukashenko attended the opening ceremony of the nuclear power plant on November 6. At the time, he said that putting the Astravyets nuclear power plant into operation was as “ordinary” as building a subway.
According to TUT.by, during the accident, several voltage measuring transformers outside the nuclear reactor exploded.
The Belarusian Ministry of Energy stated on Monday that it “needs to replace the measuring equipment” during the test.
The Lithuanian Radiation Protection Center Ramunė Stasiūnaitienė stated that the current radiation level in Lithuania is normal. “The residents have no reason to worry or take iodine tablets.”
The Lithuanian National Nuclear Power Safety Inspection Agency (VATESI) stated that the nuclear power plant is still undergoing testing, but they have not received any information about the next nuclear power plant startup plan.
The nuclear power plant is located in the Astravyets region of Belarus, 50 kilometers from Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. It was built by the Russian atomic company Rosatom and financed by a loan from Russia.
Lithuania has always been the strongest voice against the nuclear power plant. Lithuania believes that the nuclear power plant is unsafe and was constructed in violation of international safety standards. But Belarus denies all allegations.
In response to the launch of the nuclear power plant, Lithuania has conducted evacuation drills in the border area less than 20 kilometers away from the nuclear power plant. Lithuania also stopped all electricity trade with Belarus, a move that Moscow called “discriminatory”.
The Baltic States are preparing to switch from the Russian-controlled BRELL grid (including Belarus) and will synchronize with the European continental grid system by 2025.