Belarusian NPP may get under Western sanctions

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To get political support from the Kremlin: this is how experts estimate the aim of Rosatom’s statement that they face Western sanctions for participation in Crimean projects.

Physicist Georgy Lepin states that even if such sanctions are imposed, it will not be followed by direct failures in Astravets NPP construction, because Rosatom produces all of its technologies itself.

“Each nuclear power plant has a number of features, and no one else can simply compensate for them or has the right for it,” says Georgy Lepin.

According to the Russian expert Andrei Ozharovskiy, Rosatom, which is a very unprofitable corporation, is trying to attract the attention of the Kremlin, and by speculation about possible sanctions it is trying to gain more subsidies from its government. But while the potential Western restrictions against Rosatom do not threaten Astravets construction directly, the main threat is coming from Minsk.

“Belarus has put on itself sanctions by violating the Aarhus and Espoo Conventions. If Lithuania refuses to buy electricity from the Belarusian nuclear power plant, it will be as unprofitable as the one in Kaliningrad, whose construction was stopped for the same reason,” says physicist Andrei Ozharovskiy (Russia).

Meanwhile, the chances of the Baltic export are becoming slimmer. After numerous concerns on the part of the Lithuanian diplomats, the Party of the Lithuanian Christian Democrats – “Homeland Union” – passed in the Seimas almost 65,000 signatures in support of the ban for Belarus to use the Lithuanian power grid, if the NPP does launch. For consideration by the Parliament, the Act was to get only 50,000 votes.

“Mr. Lukashenko has repeatedly pointed out that it guarantees the safety of the nuclear power plant. Is he the chief specialist? Is he in control of the situation? I guarantee that this is a lie. No one manages such situations, let alone people without any qualifications,” notes Vytautas Landsbergis, former head of the Lithuanian Seimas.

The main EU claim is about the refusal of Minsk to conduct stress tests for nuclear stability in the case of potential emergencies. Minsk promised to carry them out in 2012, but instead of doing it by European standards, Minsk said that it had conducted its internal inspection, which fully satisfied both the Belarusian authorities and the Russian partners.

Experts, however, point out that Rosatom brings international delegations to Belarus to try to sell a model of experimental Astravets NPP to someone else. But today, the never tried and tested model of the new reactor produced by a manufacturer that has never made reactors before only interests the official Minsk.

Stanislau Ivashkevich, Belsat

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