Atomproject, a company of Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, has issued tenders for surveying work at the site of a future Baltic nuclear power plant (NPP). Lithuanian experts say it may signal that Rosatom is resuming construction of the nuclear facility.
Rosatom
© Reuters/Scanpix

Rosatom had issued two tenders related to the Baltic NPP: a tender for radio-ecological monitoring in the territory surrounding the site of the future facility and another tender for geodynamic surveying of the construction site, the news portal kgd.ru reported, adding that the projects would be financed by Rosatom.

Lithuania’s energy minister believes it is premature to speculate what the real purpose of these efforts by Rosatom may be.

“There’s a movement, which may be related to our tightened stance on Astravyets [a nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus]. However, we have to wait and see to be more certain. If those are just surveys, they don’t give anything,” Rokas Masiulis told BNS.

Former energy minister Arvydas Sekmokas told BNS that the surveying works could indicate that Rosatom is checking whether or not construction could be resumed.

“First of all, we have to recall that the construction was launched preliminarily, which was followed by an official announcement of its discontinuation. I’d say now they’re probing whether or not that construction could be continued. The final decision – to continue or not – should be made by Russia's central government. It’s a signal that the Baltic NPP may be built after all,” he said.

Sekmokas believes that the nuclear facility Kaliningrad should be fully intended for exporting electricity rather than domestic consumption. He also thinks that some of the future energy from the facility could be intended for the Baltic markets.

According to kgd.ru, Kaliningrad Region Governor Nikolay Tsukanov admitted last August that construction on the Baltic NPP was not in progress.

“Now we have a situation where the European Union is refusing to buy electricity for some reason. I’m certain that construction will be resumed,” he said at the time.

Meanwhile Vitaly Trutnev, head of Directorate for Construction of the Baltic NPP at Rosatom, earlier said that even though construction of the facility had been suspended, the directorate was ready to resume it any time.

In December, Masiulis sent a letter to the economy and energy ministers of Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Finland, calling on the neighbouring countries not to buy electricity from the nuclear power plants being built in Belarus and Kaliningrad.

The minister then said that the facilities posed threat to the environment and created unfair competition in the market for electricity.

The project of the Baltic NPP in Kaliningrad has been frozen for some time. Meanwhile Belarus has said that the first unit of its nuclear power plant in Astravyets will be launched in 2018 and the second reactor will be switched on a year later.

BNS
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