Linas Linkevičius: Seimas decision shows Lithuania’s firm position concerning the Astravets NPP
In his comments on the Law on Necessary Measures against Threats Posed by Unsafe Nuclear Power Plants in Third Countries, passed by the Seimas on 20 April 2017, Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius notes that this resolute step is a very important political signal to Belarus and all partners in the region which shows Lithuania’s firm position concerning the Astravets NPP.
“The Law adopted by the Seimas and the disposition of other countries in the region not to buy electricity generated in the Astravets NPP essentially undermine the economic feasibility of the Astravets NPP project,” Linas Linkevičius says.
The Minister emphasises that Lithuania will continue its preparation for desynchronisation from the BRELL electrical ring which connects Belarus, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and together with Estonia, Latvia and Poland will proceed with its preparatory work for synchronisation with the European electricity system.
The Law provides that a third country power plant that is constructed or operates in violation of international environmental and nuclear safety requirements and that poses threat to Lithuanian national security, environment and public health due to its geographical location or technological peculiarities is recognised to be unsafe. Electric power generated in an unsafe power plant cannot enter the Lithuanian market, thus it cannot be stored in the Kruonis Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Plant.
Belarus has repeatedly stated that electricity produced in Unit 2 of the Astravets NPP will be exported to Europe by possibly using the Lithuanian electricity transmission infrastructure. However now that Lithuania and Poland have decided not purchase electric power from the Astravets NPP, European electricity markets can be hardly accessible to Belarus.
The Minister believes that if this piece of news does not make Belarus suspend the construction of the Astravets NPP, there will be yet another proof that the project is underpinned by geopolitical rather than economic reasons.
The Law passed by the Seimas sends a significant message to Lithuania’s regional and European partners, too, as it shows that Lithuania does not only speak of threats, posed by the Astravets NPP, to people and nature but also takes resolute measures to prevent them.
Lithuania urges Belarus to discontinue the construction of the Astravets NPP without delay because of noncompliance of the project with international environmental and nuclear safety standards, particularly serious multiple violations in the process of project development, because of serious recurrent incidents at the construction site of the Astravets NPP, because of low labour safety culture, low competence and lack of experience of a nuclear safety inspectorate and construction companies in developing the Astravets NPP, and because of permanent manipulations with international instruments and public opinion in Belarus and its neighbour countries. Since the Astravets NPP electricity cannot be sold on the European market, the project costs will be an unbearable burden on Belarus economy and society.