To say the construction of the Belarusian nuclear plant has been controversial would be to trivialise the history of these lands. Chernobyl lies only seven miles from Belarus’s southern border, and the nuclear accident, still the world’s worst, has left the deepest of scars locally. The direction of the wind in spring 1986 – and the Soviet authorities’ decision to avoid major harm in Moscow – meant Belarus suffered more than any other region in the union. At the moment that the radioactive clouds moved towards the capital, air force pilots were ordered to chase down the toxic clouds and seed them with jets of silver iodide. Much of the southernmost region of Gomel remains seriously contaminated, with elevated oncology levels as a result. Lithuania, the European nation that borders Belarus just 10 miles west of Astravets, is bitterly opposed to the nuclear plant. It says it has not been properly consulted and claims the plant breaches post-Fukushima distance guidelines – in particular, a recommendation that nuclear power stations should not be built closer than 100km of major conurbations. The new nuclear plant lies just 30 miles east of the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.
Independent 19th Jan 2020 read more »