Lithuania alarmed by Belarusian nuclear plant near border

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HELSINKI (AP) — Lithuania’s president says a nuclear power plant that is due to start operating soon in neighboring Belarus poses “a huge threat to the safety and security” of countries in the region due to insufficient security standards.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said Tuesday in Helsinki that the construction of the Astravets nuclear power plant just some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, has been plagued with accidents, the theft of construction materials and mistreatment of workers.

During a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Nauseda urged fellow EU members to push Belarus to address security issues ahead of the plant’s planned start in January.

Lithuania closed its sole nuclear power plant in 2009 and has forbidden the purchase of energy from Belarus.

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