BelNPP project looks even more controversial as authorities struggle to find buyers for electricity

The circle of potential buyers of electricity from the Belarusian NPP is shrinking. Recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland spoke about the lack of interest in electricity from Belarus.

The first power unit of the Belarusian NPP is planned to start operation in a year. But the government still doesn’t say where the electricity produced in Belarus will be sold. Almost all western neighbors of Belarus have refused to buy it. Finland joined them the other day, claiming that they plan to finish the construction of their own NPP Olkiluoto in the coming years.

The boycott of the Belarusian NPP was initiated by Lithuania. It was the first to announce that it would not buy Belarusian electricity, since Minsk is building nuclear power plants in dangerous proximity to Vilnius.

Currently, Belarus can only export to the east.

Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Latvia and Finland are not interested in buying energy from the Belarusian NPP.

“There will be an opportunity to export energy to the markets of the Eurasian Economic Area. There is a technical possibility to export to Ukraine,” explains Tatsiana Manenok, an economic observer.

However, it is not known whether the cost of this energy will be attractive. BelNPP will produce 18 billion kilowatt-hours — more than half of what our country consumes in a year. The authorities decided to build nuclear power plants to earn money on exports. Own electricity will reduce the consumption of Russian gas by a quarter, but even if you need to buy less Russian gas, Belarusians will still have to pay Russia to return a 10 billion dollar loan used for building the nuclear power plant.

Andrei Ozharovsky, nuclear physicist and ecologist, Russia:

“It would be a good way out to stop this construction, it’s not too late, because it’s really cheaper not to finish building and start negotiations (Lukashenka even tried to move in this direction) about breaking the contract.”

The hope for the flow of export dollars and the weakening of dependence on Moscow is on the verge of collapse. There will definitely not be cheap electricity for the population, it will be cheaper only for enterprises.

Meanwhile, the authorities are looking for the ways of using the future surplus of electricity. They plan to develop electric transport, to heat water with electricity and even to build fully electrified housing — without gas pipelines and heating mains.

Due to the lack of demand for electricity, Russia has already stopped the construction of a nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad. The countries of Europe are strengthening their energy systems not through the creation of nuclear power plants, but through improving energy efficiency and developing renewable energy sources. It’s not known when windmills will be built in Belarus, but the money for a loan from a nuclear power plant needs to be returned after two and a half years.

Alyaksandr Papko,

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