Lithuania plans to block imports from “unsafe” Belarusian nuclear power plan

By bne IntelliNews September 5, 2017

The Lithuanian energy ministry has drafted a plan to curb transmission and import of power from a Belarusian nuclear power plant currently being built in Astravets, 50 kilometres from the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, the ministry said on September 4. 

The ministry’s plan is yet another step in Vilnius’ drive to torpedo the Astravets project. The Lithuanian parliament passed a bill in mid-June declaring that the power plant is a threat to national security. The law requires that the government to adopt a plan on measures to safeguard the country within three months.

Lithuania is opposed to the plant, claiming it does not meet safety requirements and could threaten the capital’s 540,000 strong population in case of a failure. Lithuania alleges that Belarus is not adhering to the regulations of the Espoo Convention, which guides states’ environmental assessment for projects that could have a transboundary impact.

Part of the Lithuanian plan is to tax power imported from Belarus and Russia, through which Minsk may try to route electricity from Astravets to sell in the Baltic states, the ministry said in a statement. Lithuania wants both its neighbours Latvia and Estonia and the European Commission to support the measures.

"It is vital for Lithuania to protect itself against the a national security threat from Astravets NPP. The construction of a plan for protection against unsafe nuclear power activities in Belarus is primarily focused on measures at the regional level, but it is clear what we must do at the national level in protecting our state and the interests of its people," said Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

Poland, which borders on Lithuania and Belarus, said in March it would not import electricity from the controversial plant.

Related Articles

Winner of Estonian election loses bid to form government

Estonia’s Reform party, which won the election in early March, failed to secure a parliamentary majority on April 15, the vote’s result now opening a possibility for the runner-up Centre party to ... more

Estonia blocks €1.7bn offshore wind power park citing national security concerns

The Estonian government blocked a €1.7bn offshore wind power project off the coast of the Saaremaa island last week, citing security concerns, Bloomberg reported on April 11. “The reason for ... more

Estonia probes Swedbank for alleged link to money laundering

Estonia is investigating Swedbank in connection to the money laundering scandal centering on Danske Bank that erupted last year, the Estonian state’s public prosecutor’s office said on February ... more