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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 02.06.2020, 11:22

Electricity embargo will have effect on Astravyets N-plant

BC, Vilnius, 27.04.2017.Print version
The Astravyets nuclear power plant (NPP) under construction in Belarus close to the Lithuanian border is not a political decision only but also has economic substance, as the decision not to buy electricity from the power plant may have an impact on implementation of the project, Daivis Virbickas, CEO of Lithuania's power transmission system operator Litgrid said LETA/BNS.

"There are many discussions as to whether it is a political or an economic project. I do not want to talk about politics, this is not up to me to decide. I wanted to talk about energy figures. Let's just make a simulation. There are two reactors, 1,200 MW each, let's take the current Nord Pool price of 36.54 euros per MWh, if the power plant operates in a normal regime, the revenue will be 700 mln euros per year, 2 mln euros a day," Virbickas said at a presentation of Litgrid operations on Thursday.

He noted that the Astravyets NPP project must also have economic substance, therefore, the Lithuanian decision to boycott electricity from Belarus would have an effect.

"Can these project be purely political? Do they really not care about the law passed by our Seimas last week? Don't they really need the 2 mln euros in daily revenue? In addition to political agenda, the project has an economic foundation, and this is why we see the order from the Seimas very seriously. There are two ways and two pieces of homework – restrict trade on Nord Pool after Astravyets is launched," the Litgrid CEO said.

Virbickas said he had no reasons to think that the Astravyets facility would be safe. Recalling the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, he noted that it was built by the same country – Russia, and its state-run company Rosatom is also the builder of the Astravyets NPP.

"We have had an example of what can happen in nuclear power plants. However sad it may seem, this happened to a power plant of the country that is building Astravyets today, so give me a single reason of why I should believe in success more than in failure," Virbickas said.

Last week, the Lithuanian parliament adopted the Law on the Necessary Measures of Protection against Threats Posed by Unsafe Nuclear Power Plants of Third Countries, which stipulates restrictions of electricity imports from the Astravyets nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus and other unsafe nuclear facilities in third countries.

A number of incidents have been reported on the Astravyets construction site some 50 kilometers from the Lithuanian capital of capital Vilnius, raising doubts in Lithuania about the safety of the facility.

The plant will have two nuclear reactors of 1,200 megawatts each, with the first unit planned to be switched on in 2019 and the second one in 2020.

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