Who needs Astravets nuclear power station?
Activists of the initiative Astravets nuclear power station is a crime applied for sanctioning of an action of protest against construction of the power station on 25 April.
Ivan Kruk and Mikalai Ulasevich want to hold a picket under the title ‘Who needs Astravets nuclear power station’ in the town of Astravets. They and four more activists also applied to Astravets district executive committee for sanctioning a public meeting on 24 April for discussion of the expedience of constructing the nuclear power plant. The applicants intend to invite to the event scientists from Belarus, Russia and Lithuania, representatives of the press and the local authorities.
As said by Ivan Kruk to the web-site www.ucpb.org, citizens of Astravets district and activists of the anti-nuclear initiative addressed the head of the presidential administration Uladzimir Makei and the head of Hrodna oblast executive committee Uladzimir Sauchanka with the request to foster the sanctioning of the meeting.
‘While our Republic has started democratization and liberalization of certain sides of the public life, by the volitional decision of Astravets district executive committee we were prohibited to hold on 17 January a public meeting in the cinema and concert hall Astravets concerning a sharp issue – construction of the nuclear power plant, which concerns all dwellers of our district,’ wrote the activists.
The head of Astravets district executive committee Adam Kavalko motivated the refusal by saying that the concert and cinema hall was only for the events that were connected with the state holidays. The opponents of construction of the nuclear power station are of the opinion that by his action he head of the district administration ‘creates obstacles to public access to information about the influence of dangerous factors of the nuclear power plant on human life and health’.
They believe that construction of the NPS in Astravets district presents danger not only to the natural, but also to architectural and other cultural sights of Narach and Vileika reserve. ‘The existence of these natural and historical objects provides good opportunities for development of tourism and building of recreation centers,’ is emphasized in the address.
In summer 2008 scientists from Japan came to Astravets district and examined the building site. ‘They unambiguously stated that it was the only ecologically clean district in Belarus and maybe even in the whole Europe, that’s why it was undesirable to build any nuclear power stations there,’ says Ivan Kruk. ‘Medicinal mineral water was found in the subsoil there. The Japanese scientists also expressed their views in the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus. However, this scientific information is still kept in secret from our society and the European community.’
As said by the activist, on 3 March the local authorities held a semi-closed meeting of ecologists, geologists, meteorologists, medics and powermen with the local dwellers, representatives of the state institutions and media under the title ‘Construction of NPS in the Republic of Belarus – security and reliability’.
‘The meeting was held in such a way that only those who were for construction of the nuclear power station could take the floor’, said Ivan Kruk. ‘Dissidents were blankly denied this right. The dwellers of Astravets district weren’t informed about the meeting in advance through the local newspaper Astravetskaya Prauda’.
On 30 March the program Return Move, in which representatives of Astravets district executive committee and the district newspaper actively insisted on construction of NPS as quickly as possible with the aim to influence the public opinion. No contrary opinions about the harm and danger of the NPS for the population were voiced in the program,’ says Ivan Kruk.
According to him the reason is that the authorities and the state media don’t intend to get citizens in on the real consequences of construction and exploitation of the NPS. ‘Many people understand it, but are afraid to speak in public because of the state pressurization and the fear to lose their jobs and the means to existence,’ state civil activists and citizens of Astravets district in their address. ‘We cannot agree with this situation. However, there are some interested persons, who are trying to implant the ideas of ‘atomic heaven’ among the dwellers of Astravets district. Pitifully enough, in reality everything is quite different. It is impossible to recreate normal conditions for human life in Astravets district and the Republic by such means.’
Copies of the address were submitted to the Ambassadors of Russia and Lithuania and also to the head of Astravets district executive committee Adam Kavalko.