Nuclear Politics

Europe / Council Calls For Possible Measures On Electricity Imports From Nuclear Plants

By David Dalton
11 December 2020

Move comes in relation to Belarusian facility, which is nearing completion
Council Calls For Possible Measures On Electricity Imports From Nuclear Plants
The Belarusian nuclear station, where two units are nearing completion. Courtesy Rosatom.
The European Council has asked the European Commission to investigate possible measures preventing commercial electricity imports from third countries’ nuclear facilities that do not fulfil EU recognised safety levels.

The move comes in relation to the new Belarusian nuclear power station near Ostrovets, where two Russia-supplied plants are nearing completion. Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom is the general contractor for both plants and the cost of the two units, largely funded by a loan from Moscow, has been reported as $11bn (€9.3bn).

The decision was announced on Friday following a meeting of the Council in Brussels that also discussed issues including climate change, Covid-19 and security issues.

In a document outlining the meeting’s conclusions, the Council said it “underlines the importance of ensuring nuclear safety of the Belarusian nuclear power station Ostrovets”.

The station is on the Lithuania-Belarus border, 50km from the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. Lithuania has long been critical of the project and according to press reports has appealed to the European Union not to buy any electricity from the facility.

In September, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia said they would not buy electricity from Belarus when the nuclear station begins operation, local press reports said.

Lithuania’s nuclear regulator Vatesi recently called upon members of the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (Ensreg) to urge Belarus to “resolve all indicated safety issues” related to the station.

The government of Belarus recently published a decree approving commissioning targets of 2021 and 2022 for the two nuclear reactors, the first commercial plants in the country. According to the Belta news agency, the Belarusian-1 unit will begin commercial operation next year and Belarusian-2 “in the first half of 2022”.

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