Government okays plan for blocking power imports from Belarus' N-plant
The Lithuanian government endorsed on Wednesday an action plan for blocking electricity imports from Belarus' Astravyets nuclear power and thus hampering the project.
Lithuania plans to restrict the transmission capacity for electricity from Belarus and to impose a cross-border transmission charge on power imports from it, as well as to ban the Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant from providing services to the neighboring country.
Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas said during the Cabinet's meeting that the plan was the fourth step in Lithuania's drive to torpedo the project, which Vilnius sees as unsafe.
"The first (step) was the Law on Necessary Measures against the Threats Posed by Unsafe Nuclear Power Plants in Third Countries. The government then submitted an assessment to the Seimas and it was proposed to recognize, based on seven criteria, the Astravyets NPP as unsafe and posing a threat to Lithuania's national interests. This was followed by the adoption in June of a law to recognize the Astravyets NPP as unsafe," he said.
The plan calls for seeking an agreement with Latvia and Estonia by the second quarter of 2018 on applying cross-border transmission charges to electricity from third countries, provided that the European Commission approves such a measure. Lithuania also expects to reach by the first quarter of 2019 an agreement with neighboring countries to limit power imports from the Astravyets facility.
The Lithuanian government is concerned that the nuclear power plant that Russia's state corporation Rosatom is building in Astravyets, some 50 kilometers from Vilnius, falls short of safety standards and worries that the facility may hamper the Baltic countries' plans to synchronize their power grids with the Western European system.
Minsk insists that the plant is being built according to all safety standards.