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Home / WORLD / Lithuanian president plans to warn EU leaders about Belarusian nuclear plant by handing out copies of HBO’s Chernobyl – reports

Lithuanian president plans to warn EU leaders about Belarusian nuclear plant by handing out copies of HBO’s Chernobyl – reports

“The president’s gesture is a simple, non-traditional way to [draw] the EU leaders’ attention to the danger posed by the Astravyets [nuclear power plant in Belarus] not only for Lithuania, but for the whole EU,” a presidential administration official said in a statement to Lithuania’s ELTA news agency.

Nauseda will apparently hand out the DVDs at an informal EU summit in Porto scheduled for May 7-8.

The five-part HBO miniseries, a dramatization of one of the worst nuclear accidents in history, has captivated audiences around the world, becoming one of the highest-rated TV shows on film database IMDB.

“The president considers this film to be very effective,” Nauseda’s office said in the statement reported by local media.

While many have highlighted significant historical inaccuracies in the drama, Lithuania’s president has seemingly decided it’s good enough to use as a persuasive tool in real-life politics.

Vilnius claims that the Astravyets nuclear plant, built some 60 kilometers away from the Lithuanian capital, is nothing but “Moscow’s geopolitical project” guided by “similar Soviet secrecy principles” that contributed to the Chernobyl catastrophe.

“The EU needs to act here and now,” the statement said.

Lithuania has been engaged in a lengthy row with Belarus over the power plant, which came online in November 2020. Vilnius repeatedly voiced concerns over its safety and raised strong objections to its construction. As soon as the plant started its operations, the Lithuanian government immediately moved to ban Belarusian power imports. 

In February, Lithuania’s minister for energy, Dainius Kreivys, told local media that his nation was still importing significant amounts of energy from Belarus – comments that seemed a surprise to Minsk. The Belarus Ministry of Energy later said the claim did not “correspond to reality.”

Officials pointed to the website of Lithuania’s own national grid operator Litgrid, which showed that energy imports from Belarus were “equal to zero.”

Whether Vilnius’ fears about the Astravyets plant’s safety are justified is another question. The plant’s reactor was a joint project between Belarus and Russia’s state nuclear energy company, Rosatom. The company no longer even builds reactors similar to the one used in Chernobyl, Rosatom told Russia’s business news portal RBC in April.

The company also introduced numerous improvements to its reactor designs, which were based on the analysis of the Chernobyl catastrophe as well. “All modern Russian reactors… meet all modern safety norms and requirements, including those set by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency],” Rosatom said.

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