Nuclear power project is fraught with 'ordeals', expert says

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Belarusian government’s plans to build a nuclear power plant are fraught with “multiple troubles and ordeals for the people,” Belarusian expert Heorhiy Lepin said at an international conference in Vilnius on October 9.

He described nuclear energy programs as “the most costly and the most hazardous of all power generation technologies.” “This danger is connected not only with the possibility of accidents: a nuclear reactor pollutes the environment during its routine operation,” Dr. Lepin said.

The professor stressed that nuclear power projects were inefficient because of high construction costs and the high cost of power generation. Nuclear fuel currently costs nearly 20 times as much as it did in 2000, he said, describing the disposal of nuclear waste as a “very expensive and very dangerous problem.”

Mikhail Marynich, a former minister of external economic ties who spent years in prison over what is widely believed to be his criticism of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s policies, stressed that the construction of a nuclear power plant “must not be on the agenda” until Belarus became a democratic state. “If there are spare funds, they can be used for participation in a consortium with our neighbors to build a nuclear power plant on their territory,” he said.

British professor Christopher Busby, who studies the effects of low-dose radiation on health, warned that the operation of a nuclear power plant would lead to a higher child mortality rate in Belarus.

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