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2019.10.16 16:00

Lithuanian president proposes new blocks against Belarus' nuclear energy

Saulius Jakučionis, BNS, LRT.lt2019.10.16 16:00

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda on Wednesday proposed new measures to block electricity imports from Astravyets nuclear plant under construction in Belarus.

"Imports of electricity produced in a dangerous way for Lithuania's environment and public health poses a threat to our national security. Therefore, we must take additional measures already now to restrict the possibility of such electricity entering Lithuania's territory," Nausėda was quoted in a statement released by the president office.

The proposed amendments would allow immediate cancellation of electricy import permits. The proposal would also block issuing new import licenses from third countries with nuclear power plants deemed unsafe from the very beginning of their operation, the statement reads.

It's unclear how the new proposals would address imports of Astravyets' electricity via its neighbours, such as Latvia, which recently claimed it would be willing to allow Belarusian electricity into its network before the Baltic states synchronise their power grids with the rest of Europe by 2025.

Lithuania has also already enacted laws to ban electricity imports from Belarus once Astravyets NPP becomes operation.

Read more: Latvia's decision to import electricity from Russia ‘a moral defeat’ for Lithuania, minister says

Under the new proposals, Lithuania's National Energy Regulatory Council could also ask the government's special commission assessing deals of strategic enterprises to investigate power importers, and if it found that they posed threat to national security, the service could immediately withdraw permits.

In 2017, the Lithuanian parliament, Seimas, ruled that Astravyets NPP is unsafe and poses a threat to Lithuania's national security, environment and public health. The Seimas also adopted a law banning power imports from unsafe power plants.

Belarus rejects all of Lithuania's reproaches that the power plant is unsafe. The Astravyet's NPP is scheduled to become operation in January 2020.

Read more: Political discussions failed to rally Lithuanian neighbours against Belarusian nuclear plant