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Days after reports emerged that the newly opened Belarus nuclear power plant suffered an incident, authorities in neighboring Lithuania told the Baltic country’s population on Thursday to stock up on food in case of an incident at the nuclear power facility in Belarus, which is just 30 miles away from Lithuania’s capital city Vilnius.
“We recommend that the population create a stock of essential products for three days,” Mindaugas Bayarunas, a representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Lithuania, said on the national radio on Thursday, as carried by Russian news agency TASS.
“The functions of all responsible authorities are clearly defined, but it will take some time until they come to help people, so everyone should be ready,” Bayarunas said.
Lithuanian authorities recommend people stock up on canned goods, water, sugar, and cereals.
Belarus has just launched the Astravets nuclear power plant, with Russian help and technology. Lithuania has long opposed the construction and operations of the plant, which is located near the Belarus-Lithuania border and is just 50 kilometers away from Lithuania’s capital.
The Astravets nuclear power plant was built by Russian state firm Rosatom and was financed by Moscow with a $10 billion loan.
Despite safety concerns raised by Lithuania, Belarus launched the nuclear power plant in early November. Lithuania immediately cut off electricity imports from Belarus.
Days after its inauguration, the Astravets nuclear power plant halted electricity output after voltage transformers had reportedly exploded. A couple of weeks later, the power plant resumed operations.
Earlier this week, an NGO in Belarus, Ekodom, reported that the cooling system of the first reactor had been damaged.
“Due to an unopened valve, when pumping out the [cooling liquid] at the end of the tests, the tank of the emergency cooling system of the first reactor was damaged,” Ecohome said.
On Thursday, the energy ministry of Belarus admitted that “need has been identified” to fix the steam covers of the emergency cooling system.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.