Conference of the Norwegian Project “Development of an Early Warning System on Nuclear Emergency of Lithuania” took place in Vilnius
On 27 April 2023 the Fire and Rescue Department under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as “the Department”) organised a Conference of the Norway Grants funded Project “Development of an Early Warning System on Nuclear Emergency of Lithuania”. One of the main objectives of this project is to provide timely warning and safety to the population in the event of a nuclear or radiological accident in Belarus.
The Conference was attended by representatives of the State Fire and Rescue Service, the Fire Fighters Training School, the Lithuanian Armed Forces, the Police, the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate, the Radiation Protection Centre, municipal civil protection specialists, and representatives of non-governmental institutions.
The Project is significantly important – it will expand the existing network of sirens and increase the number of alerted residents about disasters. At present, there are 936 sirens in Lithuania. The Project will provide 197 sirens, which will be able to warn at least 75% of the population living in areas within the 100-kilometre zone of influence of the emergency protective action and extended planning of the Nuclear Power Plant of the Republic of Belarus. The sirens should be handed over to the municipalities at the end of this year. Procurement procedures have also been launched (preliminary contract) for the purchase of 500 additional sirens.
Mr Saulius Greičius, Director of the Department, thanked Norway for its cooperation and support: “I believe that this Project will give the opportunity for Lithuanian residents to be safer. We can only be safer by expanding the existing network of sirens and increasing the number of people alerted to disasters. I would like to thank the Project partners, the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority and the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate for their cooperation. Working together we are strong.”
Mr Eirik Lyberg Bergene, Charge d’Affaires of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Lithuania, handed over the Norwegian Ambassador’s greetings to the participants of the Conference. According to the guest of the Conference, disasters, whether natural or man-made, cannot be avoided, but cooperation between different institutions can help to reduce their impact and save lives.
“The possibility of a nuclear or radiological accident cannot be ruled out either,” said Mr Bergene, “Ignoring the risks from the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant violates international requirements. This is the reason for the need for such a project, which includes early warning about nuclear risks. Developing early warning and managing such disasters is a common goal for Lithuania and Norway.”
The Project activities and work carried out were presented by Mr Giedrius Sakalinskas, Deputy Director of the Department, Mr Jonas Nikolaisen, Advisor in the International Nuclear Safety and Security Division of the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, and Mr Vladislav Legenis, Chief Inspector of the Safety Analysis Division of the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate.
Mr Kęstutis Agintas, Chief of the Fire Fighters Training School, presented the exercise to be held in Vilnius District this autumn. The exercise will include a mock-up (simulation) of an accident at the Belarusian nuclear power plant. It will test the cooperation between the authorities, the operation of the population collection points, the organisation of the clean-up and evacuation of the population. Moreover, at the Conference officers from the Department and the Firefighters’ Training School presented the management and coordination of the exercise, tasks, preparation of the exercise plan, etc.