Lithuania has formally applied to the European Commission to demand that implementation of the Astravets NPP stress test recommendations be ensured


2019 05 07


Today (May 3), Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas met with European Commission (EC) Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič. The main topics of the meeting were further implementation of the Baltic electricity network synchronisation project and the problem of the Astravets Nuclear Power Plant under construction near the Lithuanian border.

The Minister of Energy thanked the Vice-President for all of the EC’s political, financial and expert support, as well as its involvement in the implementation of the strategic Baltic energy security project.

According to the Minister of Energy, the key objectives that were set out in the political guidelines signed by the Baltic States, Poland and the EC at the highest level in June 2018, and which made it possible for the Baltic electricity network synchronisation project to start, have been achieved: the necessary studies have been completed and the scenario for synchronisation via Poland has been approved, and the EC has allocated EUR 323 million in funding for the first phase of synchronisation.  Furthermore, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) procedures for connecting the Baltic States to the synchronous grid of Continental Europe are currently being completed.

“The role of the European Commission, as before, will continue to be extremely important in the coming stages of the synchronisation project. In order to achieve close political and technical coordination and taking into account the EC’s leadership on this issue to date, we are inviting it to take on the role of project coordinator so as to ensure smooth implementation of the project, as we have agreed, by 2025,” says the Minister of Energy.

When discussing the problem of the Astravets NPP, the Minister presented the EC Vice-President with Lithuania’s formal appeal calling on the EU and its institutions to take a principled stand in demanding that Belarus immediately prepare an action plan for implementing the stress test recommendations and commit to implementing it before the Astravets NPP is launched. The EC is being urged to draw up a comprehensive action plan outlining the EU’s next steps regarding the Astravets NPP.

 “Thanks to the EC stepping in, we managed to ensure that Belarus conducted a stress test according to EU methodology. Now, strong EC leadership and a principled position on its behalf are needed to ensure that Belarus does not launch the Astravets NPP until the stress test recommendations are implemented. Otherwise, the entire Astravets NPP stress test procedure will be meaningless and a mere imitation of efforts, without any result. This is a matter of safety for EU citizens and there can be no compromises on this issue,” said Minister Vaičiūnas.

In July last year, a stress test report was published which established that the Astravets NPP project has serious shortcomings and deviations from international and universally recognised nuclear safety requirements, and provided important recommendations for their elimination. However, as stated in the letter from the Ministers of Energy and Foreign Affairs, Belarus is deliberately delaying preparation of the National Action Plan, which must include implementation of all the recommendations specified in the report, even though this was supposed to be done by the end of last year.