“Well before the launch of operations by the Astravyets NPP, concrete administrative and regulatory measures will be worked out and adopted to prevent direct access for electricity from Belarus to the market of Lithuania and, hence, of the EU as a whole. There should be no doubt about this,” Aurėlija Vernickaitė, spokeswoman for the Lithuanian energy minister, told BNS.
“Moreover, under the existing agreements between transmission system operators of the Baltic countries, trading of third-country electricity in these countries is only possible through Lithuania”, she said.
The Lithuanian parliament in June 2017 passed a law declaring the Astravyets plant, under construction just 50 kilometers from Vilnius, a threat to national security, environment and public health.
The government in September 2017 endorsed an action plan for blocking electricity imports from the Astravyets facility. The plan calls for restricting the transmission capacity for electricity from Belarus, imposing a cross-border transmission charge on power imports from it and banning the Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant from providing services to the neighboring country.
Belarusian Deputy Energy Minister Olga Prudnikova said on Wednesday that the country was in talks with neighbors on power supplies from the Astravyets plant. Belarus plans to switch on its first reactor in mid-2019, with the second one to be put into operation in mid-2020.
According to Prudnikova, Belarus has exported more that 700 million kilowatt-hours of electricity to Lithuania since the start of this year.
Lithuania is the main critic of the Astravyets plant, saying that the project fails to meet international safety standards, but Minsk rejects the criticism.