Updated at 18:07,08-09-2017

Lithuania set to bar Belarusian nuclear-generated electricity from Baltic markets

By Zakhar Shcharbakow, BelaPAN

Lithuania is exploring the possibility of denying access to the Baltic countries` markets for electricity to be generated by the Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant, Lithuanian Deputy Energy Minister Vidmantas Macevicius told a group of Belarusian and Lithuanian reporters in Vilnius on Monday.

According to Mr. Macevicius, Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis has tasked experts at Kaunas University of Technology and Litgrid, Lithuania`s electricity transmission grid operator, to consider what Vilnius could do to block imports of nuclear-generated electricity from Belarus.

Lithuania views the Belarusian plant as unsafe as its construction has involved violations of international standards, Vitalius Auglis, head of the pollution prevention department at Lithuania`s environment ministry, told the reporters.

He said that Minsk had failed to provide clear answers to a number of questions repeatedly put by Vilnius. In particular, he said, it has never explained why it chose a site close to the Lithuanian border for the construction of the Russian-designed plant and why construction work started even before the location was formally approved by authorities and Belarus` neighbors.

In addition, he noted, Vilnius still does not know what measures Belarus has taken to minimize the facility`s potential harmful impact on Lithuania`s environment and whether it has a plan to prevent the plant from polluting the River Viliya (Neris), which flows from Belarus to Lithuania.

Minsk has also kept silent on how it intends to manage spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, said Mr. Auglis.

Speaking at the news conference, representatives of the Belarusian government insisted that Minsk had provided answers to most of the questions.

The Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant is being built in the Astravets district, Hrodna region, some 10 miles from the Lithuanian border. Its two reactors are to have a total generating capacity of up to 2,400 megawatts. The first reactor is expected to be put into operation in November 2018 and the other in July 2020.
AtomStroyExport, a subsidiary company of Russia’s Nuclear Energy State Corporation (Rosatom), is the prime contractor in the project.