Last week, environmental and non-governmental organizations in Latvia and Lithuania organized a protest against building new nuclear power plants in those Baltic states, as well as in the neighboring Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, according to a report
in The Baltic Course
. Participants traveled by buses and cars from Daugavpils in southeastern Latvia to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Stops on this trip include towns in eastern Lithuania, such as Ignalina, the site of an already existing nuclear plant, and Zarasai, a center of aquatic tourism. The final destination of the trip is a picket at the Office of the Seimas in Vilnius. The goal of the protests is to draw people’s attention to the out-of-date electricity generation technologies that are being used and nuclear waste disposal problems which, the protestors warn, will occur after launching new “nuclear monsters”. The organizers also reminded the residents of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters and the economic impact of these catastrophes.
Due to weather conditions at the time, the Baltic states and especially northern Belarus were less affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster than some of the areas further away from Chernobyl, such as Saint Petersburg (then Leningrad) or southern Finland (see map). However, these relatively unaffected regions, such as the previously dying villages near the cities of Polotsk and Navapolatsk in northern Belarus, have become resettlement areas for refugees from the most heavily polluted zones in southern Belarus and Ukraine.