Possible Prospects of Baltic NPP

By Thomas Yarvinen

The situation about the NPP in Lithuania becomes clearer, and the Russians promise to build their own in any case.

This or that share of scepsis towards the accomplishment of these projects can be heard about the NPPs of Lithuania, Kaliningrad region of Russia and Belarus under construction. The experts also give the investors not the last place and don’t really want to name them, except for Lithuanian ones. It’s good that the choice of the investor was open.

And yet the names of investors were sounded only in Lithuania. After the refusal of Koreans to participate in the tenders they defined with Hitachi and Westinghouse.

Neither Belarus nor Russia is clear about this issue. As the most “muddy” is the issue of construction of Ostrovets NPP, and due to complete ambiguity towards this project, we should focus on the projects of construction of Visaginas NPP and Baltic NPP.

The administration of the Baltic NPP doesn’t name potential investors, listing only the directions – Poland, Lithuania, Germany, and regarding Asian direction “Rosatom” claims: “There we build our own NPP, so what else can we talk about?”. They mean the project of an NPP construction in China, that is carried out by the company. Except for that, it’s worth to consider also the common approach towards construction. The Russians build with “state” resource, and only with its participation independently of games, undertaken by “Rosatom” regarding partial state property.

Russians declare absolutely calmly, that concerning Baltic NPP the issue is not about investor, just like if there is no investor, the plant will still be built.

“We shall construct the NPP by 2016, there are no other terms. The issue is not about money, - says the representative of the customer OAO “Kontsern Rosenergoatom” Evgenij Vlasenko.

Russians do not strive to name potential investors, and the opponents of construction point out that there are no investors.

The Head of Regional Department of “Ekozashchita” (Ecoprotection) Organization, Alexandra Kovaliova, who is informed about the construction of this plant, states that the situation is exactly this way.

“The talks were held with Italians from the company “Eneco”, there have been yet no discussions about other parties involved”, - she says.

General Director of Baltic NPP Yuri Shalimov proved that there are agreements with Italians, in particularly, this issue was discussed during the meeting of the Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Silvio Berlusconi.

Except for that, according to the General Director of the plant, the talks about the participation in the project are held with Poles and Germans. He assures that Russians are opened towards investors, including Lithuanian ones. But the offer for investors is still under development.

Shalimov noted there have already been offers from investors – Italy, Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria. The names of Lithuanian companies, he notes by this, will be of interest for Lithuanians – who prefers to build NPP in Kaliningrad instead of their own place.

Shalimov also says that the place of the NPP construction was visited by General Consuls of a number of states, delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Federal Republic of Germany. The visit of the diplomats, probably, can become an argument of involvement of Europeans, but most likely these were only the courtesy calls with the hope to find out whether there is construction at all or not.

The absence of transparency in construction of the given plant despite the statements of “Rosatom” and the Administration of the region (Kaliningrad Duma has adopted the resolution on non-holding of the referendum, and its Governor has learned to use a topical word “energy security”) is about that everything is available and “maximum transparent”, doesn’t calm down Lithuania in particular. Russians point out the adoption of political decision on BNPP construction.

“We didn’t realize what shall be with Ignalina NPP”. The case was about isolation and stability. The question on Ignalina NPP has been always asked to Lithuania, there was no answer and the decision should have been made, and political decision was adopted”, - General Director Y. Shalimov described the motives of decision adoption to construct Baltic NPP.

Lithuania has repeatedly stated that the answers of Russians are not satisfactory. The concern of Lithuania is clearly noted in the interview of the Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Egidius Meilunas during the interview recently published by the portal DELFI.

“Rosatom” says, that the answers were given, but we have repeatedly stated: we lack answers on some very important questions», - states the diplomat.

This has been recently reminded during the meeting with Kaliningrad Governor by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis, and his rhetoric towards the plans of NPP construction in Belarus this spring sounded even more harshly.

“I, as a citizen of Lithuania and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, am concerned and absolutely don’t understand the willingness of Belarus to build an NPP at 50 kilometers from Lithuanian capital, and there are plenty of questions without answers about it (...) With no doubts I can declare with all responsibility that this decision of Belarus, if it is accomplished, shall worsen relations of Lithuania and Belarus for decades and affect the agenda of political cooperation”, - said A. Ažubalis in the Sejm during open hearings on this issue.

As for Baltic NPP A. Ažubalis stated the following: “Lithuania should arrange public hearings as per the Espoo convention. The issue of nuclear security of Kaliningrad nuclear plant has become even more urgent after the incident at the same NPP in Saint-Petersburg that is under construction”.

As for the attitudes of Russians towards the plans of Lithuania to construct Visaginas NPP, than according to some data at the last and still the only meeting of the Head of European Parliament Jerzy Buzek with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Russia was pretty doubtful towards plans of Lithuania.

And in the given situation we can observe the outlines of arguments of Russians and Lithuanians, grounded on a complete mutual distrust, considering the declarations of Lithuania at all levels about political pressure of Russia towards Lithuania in this issue, also towards investors, that could potentially participate within the project. This has also been repeatedly stated by the Prime Minister of Lithuania Andrius Kubilius and Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas.

By this Russians constantly assure all neighbors about their own intentions to sell electric power from Baltic NPP to Poland, Germany and Baltic states.

Pretty recently Latvia, on behalf of the President Andris Berzins, has clearly declared that the country has no funds to participate in Lithuanian project. “We can’t afford it”, stated Latvians, which called incomprehension from the side of Lithuanians, as in course of his visit to Vilnius Latvian President used to expressed the opposite viewpoint.

The line of Estonia and Poland is still not completely clear. Estonia would be glad, and this is really easier for it to cooperate with the states of North Europe, and Poles already work with Russians on the issues of wiring of power lines, the same as Germans. The “Rosatom”-men relate the sensational decision of Germany to close their own NPPs when Baltic NPP is finalized.

By this Lithuania directly says about the need to integrate into European market, and the decision, political again, on the third energy bag of the EU, the same as the fact that during all interstate meetings Lithuania raises the issue on energy security, moreover, this issue is also discussed within the frameworks of the Chairmanship of the country in the OSCE – this speaks for itself.

Meanwhile, Russians assure that Baltic NPP construction is beneficial also regarding geographic factor, as “this shall allow integrating also Lithuanian electric power market”. It seems absolutely evident who and where wants to integrate. Unclear remains the line of Europeans on this issue.


In Kaliningrad M. Kozlov, the project group of Baltic NPP, stated that in 10 years the deficiency of power in Baltic region would be pretty tangible.

However, Baltic NPP shall allow not only completely satisfying the demands of Kaliningrad region, but also thanks to unique geographic location – connecting it to the power system BRELL, uniting the power plants of Belarus, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. Except for that, they consider the issue of exporting power to Scandinavian states via sub-water line, that can be piped along the bottom of Baltic Sea.

Moreover by 2020 Germany plans completely to refuse of nuclear power, which also is another advantage of the NPP near Kaliningrad.