Belarusian Ostrovets nuclear power plant: The challenge of cross-border negotiations to balance economic development and environmental protection

States have sovereign rights that allow them to construct nuclear power plants. Moreover, engaging with nuclear power generation makes possible the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (2016–30) in combatting climate change, paramount to the Paris Agreement’s initiatives. In the same vein, however, constructing and operating power plants pose strict dangers to both general safety of the public and to national security. Thus, plant operations should strictly abide by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) standards and international law. As a result, it is important to consider the potential transboundary impacts of nuclear power plants and to conduct an appropriate transboundary environmental impact assessment (EIA). The article examines the construction of the Ostrovets Nuclear Power Plant by Belarus, close to the border of the Republic of Lithuania. The question in focus, however, is as follows: what international procedure can be used to coordinate issues of potentially negative transboundary impacts? Lithuania, in order to avoid the operation of the nuclear power plant, thus sought peaceful settlement of the dispute making use of the dispute resolution mechanisms based on international environmental agreements. The authors of this study show that the treaty bodies, established on the basis of international environmental agreements, provide important assistance in this matter in coordination with the IAEA. The use of these quasi-judicial means of resolving interstate disputes proves effective in pursuing a compromise between economic development and environmental protection. In the absence of such mechanisms at a universal level, one should consider utilizing such mechanisms in other regions of the world. VC The Author(s) 2020.

Oxford University Press
Number of issue
  • 1 Department of International Law of the People’s Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Moscow, Russian Federation
  • 2 UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Honored Lawyer of the Russian Federation, Russian Federation
  • 3 People’s Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University), Moscow, Russian Federation
Date of creation
Date of change
Short link

Other records