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In a letter addressed directly to ministers in Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Finland, Lithuanian Minister of Energy Rokas Masiulis exhorted these countries to carefully consider whether or not they should purchase electricity from the nuclear power plants being constructed in Belarus and in Russia's Kaliningrad enclave.
The Astravyets nuclear reactor
The Astravyets nuclear reactor
© Astravo AE archyvo nuotr.

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“These projects are being implemented under the essentially different regulatory and political conditions and pose a number of critical threats in terms of nuclear and environmental safety as well as unfair competition of electricity production to the neighbouring EU countries,” Masiulis wrote in his letter. “The clear signal must be sent that electricity, which is produced by violating international regulations on nuclear safety, security and transboundary environmental impact assessment, will not be accepted in the EU. Therefore, it is necessary without any delay to discuss this issue in depth, primarily on the regional and ultimately on the EU level, and develop solutions necessary to ensure a level playing field for the electricity trade with these countries.”

The nuclear power plant being built in Belarus has been especially controversial. The power plant was planned as early as 1980, though it was postponed after the Chernobyl disaster. Now, the power plant may become Belarus' first, and it is located only 45 kilometres from Vilnius. This has raised concerns about the plant's safety and security in the event of a meltdown or an attack.

Rokas Masiulis
Rokas Masiulis
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

In the letter, Masiulis invited his colleagues to discuss the issue in earnest. He has already scheduled a meeting tomorrow with Estonian Minister of Economy and Infrastructure Kristen Michal.

Masiulis' letter also mentioned the Baltic power network's synchronization with the Russian IPS/UPS electrical grid, which he said “is not acceptable politically, strategically, economically and technically. Therefore, the Baltic States have already made a joint political decision on the necessity to de-synchronise from IPS/UPS and synchronise the power system with the European Network.”

Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, supported Masiulis' letter, affirming that Lithuania would not buy electricity from the aforementioned power plants. He also said that the issue would be raised on the European level as well; "We will be demanding this categorically and without any concessions because, after all, this is not only Lithuania's problem but a regional one, i.e. the European Union's problem. These matters will be addressed by all institutions, not only the [...] Espoo Committee, but also the OSCE, the EU and others. The issue will indeed remain a priority and, on one hand, we will continue demanding security in the future, while on the other hand, as has been mentioned before, we do not intend to enter into binding agreements and purchase production from unsafe plants."

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