Vilnius is ready to help Minsk find partners to convert its NPP from nuclear fuel to gas
Vilnius. Lithuania can help Belarus find financial resources necessary for conversion of its nuclear power plant (Belarus NPP), which is being built near the Lithuanian border, from nuclear fuel to natural gas. Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said this on Tuesday, when presenting his foreign policy program as a candidate for the May presidential elections in Lithuania.
"Investments would be required, and Lithuania could become an advocate and a partner of Belarus, if Minsk gives a signal that it is looking for ways and sources of financing," the Lithuanian Prime Minister said.
On March 7, Skvernelis sent a compromise proposal to his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Rumas, which, according to of the Lithuanian side, allows to resolve the contradictions between Minsk and Vilnius on the Belarusian nuclear power plant project.
It implies reconversion of the plant from nuclear fuel to the use of natural gas,told TASS.
As the Lithuanian Prime Minister said on Tuesday, Vilnius has not yet received any official response from Minsk.
The first nuclear power plant in Belarus is being built with the use of Russian technologies near the town of Ostrovets in the Grodno region. It will consist of two power units with the total capacity of 2,400-megawatt. Atomstroiexport, part of Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom, is the general contractor for the construction of the nuclear power plant.
The first unit is to be commissioned in 2019, the second - in 2020. Belarus and Russia have concluded an agreement on granting a $10 bln loan from Russia for the construction of the plant. It is assumed that it will cover 90% of the cost of the construction. The total construction cost, according to calculations, should not exceed $11 bln.
Lithuania is opposing the construction of the Belarusian NPP. Vilnius suggested that the Baltic States and the EU should ban purchases of electricity from the Belarusian nuclear power plant. On June 15, 2018, the Lithuanian parliament adopted a law declaring the Belarusian NPP under construction unsafe and posing a threat to Lithuania’s national security, the environment and public health.
Belarus notes that there are purely political reasons behind Vilnius’ claims. Minsk repeatedly stressed that the safety of nuclear power plant will be ensured in accordance with the highest standards.