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"It will be one of Belarus' breadwinners": Lithuanians on Belarusian NPP

"Smart persons" try to exploit authoritative people and authoritative international forums but this old technique does not always work. The accusations of Lithuania over the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant have flown past the ears of US President Trump and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Donald Trump flew to Poland this week as a warm-up before the first handshake with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit.

But this is another topic... During a visit to Poland, Trump met with some leaders of Eastern and Central Europe.

Taking this opportunity, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, after thanking Washington for increasing the budget by 40% "for deterrence on the eastern flank", expectedly mentioned a threat of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant.

Whether Trump understood what she was talking about remains a mystery, the American leader showed no reaction...

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Minsk completely rejected the Lithuanian resolution on Belarus. They simply refused to include it in the agenda. The list included claims about rights, freedoms, elections, death penalty. Moreover, the Lithuanian parliamentarians included the Belarusian nuclear power plant. Eight countries agreed to discuss this resolution, but 49 did not support it. Sweden, Austria, Canada and Great Britain - the major countries - were against discussing it... It was a shock! - the Lithuanian deputy confessed...

Let us leave for now the rights and freedoms (here Belarus has shown great progress, Westerners note) and let's return to the topic of peaceful atom. Only 36 countries around the world allow themselves to have NPPs. As a rule, these are the most developed states. Some inherited the energy of the atom from socialist past, Lithuania included.

True, the Ignalina NPP was shut down. Not because it is out of date or something happened to it. The reason is that the European Union put such a condition when accepting Lithuania in the EU. The loss for Vilnius is not just sad, but economic! Therefore, attacks against the Belarusian nuclear power plant are understandable. The economic and political background is obvious.

And President Lukashenko, speaking before the OSCE parliamentarians, singled out this topic not only in connection with security. Lithuanians can use the NPP as a source of electricity, and as a source for the existence of many families - after the closure of the Ignalina station, the town of power engineers, Visaginas, faced depression, since highly qualified specialists lost their jobs.

Tatiana Revizore will introduce some points of view on the Belarusian nuclear power plant from Lithuania. Not from Vilnius offices, but from the Belarus-Lithuania border zone.

Vladimir Fomin, Visaginas resident, former employee of the Ignalina NPP:
The town was built in the forest. Here is the lake, behind is the nuclear power plant. And behind is Belarus.

The Fomin family moved to the Lithuanian Visaginas from Kazakhstan. And this is not surprising. The best specialists from all over the Soviet Union took part in the designing, construction, and operation of the Ignalina NPP. The couple worked at the station for a quarter of a century. He is an engineer and she is a chemist.

Vladimir Fomin:
It is a city-forming enterprise. This is the life of not only our city, not only me, but all of Lithuania. And then suddenly everything collapsed.

The history of Visaginas begins here with this stone. Hardly anyone could have thought that in 2009 one of the most reliable stations in the world would be closed down. The closure of Ignalina is a tough ultimatum, which was put forward to Lithuania, who wanted to join the European Union.

Tatyana Revizore, special correspondent:
The Geiger counter, located even today on the central Visaginas Square, is just a reminder of the recent past of the Baltic capital of nuclear scientists. After the stop of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, the life of the city changed. The majority of power engineers lost their jobs. Many even left the 'town of atomists' altogether.

In the best times, the station employed five thousand people. Today no more than two thousand. The unemployment rate in the region is one of the highest in Lithuania.

Boris Larionov, a Visaginas resident, former employee of the Ignalina NPP:
Consider, the number of people has dropped almost twice. People are leaving. Young people especially. Not because they are not patriotic, but simply because they cannot find jobs.

Anatoly Pokidyshev, a Visaginas resident, veteran of nuclear energy, former head of electrical shop at Ignalina NPP:
Some good specialists from our station moved to work at the Belarussian nuclear power plant.

Meanwhile, Ignalina nuclear power plant was considered the most powerful in the world just a decade ago. The locals called the station the breadwinner. Judge for yourself.

Two nuclear reactors produced more than 70% of electricity consumed in Lithuania. The country was an exporter, but energy independence remained in the past.

Vladimir Kuznetsov, a Visaginas resident, former deputy head of the reactor shop at Ignalina NPP, deputy chairman of the Public Council for Energy and Ecology under the Visaginas Municipality:
There was cheap electricity, there was cheap heat. In 2010, the price of heat and hot water increased fourfold.

Having realized the mistake Lithuania planned atomic reset. But the project of a new Visaginas station stalled for financial reasons. Now the construction site in Belarus, Lithuania's neighboring land, disturbs the official Vilnius.

Vladimir Kuznetsov:
This is a political conflict and nothing more. There is no reason to be afraid of the new reactor.

Vladimir Fomin:
The people in Lithuania are very good, friendly. But politicians do their job. It is necessary to be friends with politicians, but they make friends with countries behind the ocean. What a paradox!

Ostrovets nuclear power plant and Vilnius are 50 kilometers apart. And this is the main argument of Lithuanian officials. At the same time, Ignalina is only four kilometers from the Belarusian border.

Boris Larionov:
The IAEA is not critical to Belarus, as far as I know. The Belarusian nuclear power plant is inevitable for Belarus. If Belarus wants to develop, this is the right choice.

The residents of Visaginas are sure that the Belarusian NPP can be useful to Lithuania as well. There is even an infrastructure for this.

Vladimir Kuznetsov:
If we proceed from considerations of the people of Lithuania, then, of course, we must look for the cheapest electricity and buy it. Now they say that electricity from the Belarusian nuclear power plant will be dirty. Electrons will bring radiation. But this is nonsense. But how did electrons run from the Ignalina plant? Who can believe in this? Are they frightening themselves?

Vladimir Fomin:
 My opinion is that Belarus will build the safest, the most economical, and the most profitable plant for the country and the people who will work there. It will be one of the breadwinners of Belarus. I am pleased that the Belarusians will finally build the nuclear power plant. Well done!

The former capital of nuclear scientists in Lithuania resembles a ghost town more and more with every passing year. These people don't care about political intrigues. After all, what was earlier the business of their life can now only be observed from the window.

"It will be one of Belarus' breadwinners": Lithuanian view on Belarusian NPP