Possible location probed for radioactive waste quarry near Belarusian NPP

Lyntupy / Ivan Bai
Lyntupy / Ivan Bai

There have been rumors since May that a repository for nuclear waste from the Belarusian NPP could soon appear close to the town of Lyntupy in north-western Belarus. Activists urge to prevent the construction of a radioactive burial ground.

The Nuclear Research Institute “Sosny” has indicated in its report that the repository should be located in the 5-kilometer zone around the Belarusian NPP and that several possible sites had already been found within this radius. The distance from the construction site of the nuclear power plant to the potential quarry is about 50 km. Euroradio decided to check the rumors and find out whether the town of Lyntupy was indeed chosen as the disposal site for the nuclear waste from the Belarusian NPP.

Говорят, недалеко от БелАЭС копают карьер для радиоактивных отходов. Это правда?
The "Vintsantauskaye" deposit of the future quarry.

“It's good that people are worried and asking questions”. 

The customer for the quarry at Lyntupy is the Pastavy road maintenance and construction department No. 132. The director of the company, Stanislau Rahinya, told Euroradio that no repository was being built:

“It's good that people worry, they ask questions. There will be no construction of a burial ground at Lyntupy. Everything is being done within the law. We put it up for discussion, currently preparing the documentation. On the sixth of June there will be a meeting. There will be executive power and others. And we will once again explain everything: for what purposes, and what is being developed, and at what stage. That burial ground, the damage to the environment - we are doing everything within the law of Belarus. We will explain everything”.

Since the end of May, there have been a notice on the public discussion of the environmental impact report about the new quarry near Lyntupy put out by the  Pastavy regional executive committee. 

“The quarry under Lyntupy will be for the extraction of road-building materials for the repair and construction of roads in the Pastavy region,” continues Stanislau Rahinya. "We had another quarry at Lyntupy, we developed it for 30 years. In the end we closed it. After exploration, it was decided to develop part of the Vintsantauskaye deposit. The project is under development, the necessary research has been carried out. I see no reason to worry. ”

It is assumed that the new quarry will reduce the cost of road works -- its development will save money on transportation. “The Pyatrovichy quarry, which is being developed now, is sandy, and this one at Lyntupy has more gravel. We will be able to save on rubble. There will be jobs, road repair will become cheaper,” explains the director of the road maintenance department.

The quarry is to be developed in the northern part of the field. It is intended for use, there are no water bodies and specially protected areas. “But the southern part of the field is located in the water protection zone of the Olksna River, and it is not planned to be developed,” Stanislau Rahinya assured.

Говорят, недалеко от БелАЭС копают карьер для радиоактивных отходов. Это правда?

“The wells may become empty, the forest will dry up”

The local eco-activists from "Green Watch" are worried. But not because of the radioactive waste of the Belarusian NPP. The hydrological reserve Shvakshty, the “Blue Lakes” facility, the “Sarachanskiye Lakes” reserve may be in the zone of possible negative influence of the pit. They scientists fear that the consequences of the quarry development may affect the ecosystems of the Olksna, Lyntupka and Stracha rivers.

“There is a fear that the pit development will force the aquifer to leave, and rivers with floodplain swamps will not receive the necessary part of surface water. This may affect the hydrology of the Stracha River, which forms the ecosystems of the surrounding reserves. Due to a decrease in the level of the aquifer, wells may become empty, the forest will begin to dry out. The economic benefit of this place is also questionable, “Vintsantovskaye” is on the very edge of the Pastavy region, and the benefits of taking sand and gravel from here to the other end of the region are questionable, ”Green Watch" coordinator of the Green Watc movement Ihar Pastukhou told the Vitsebsk Courier.