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27.08.2016 - 15: 13

Lithuanian hysteria about nuclear power plant in Belarus caused resentment on the EU

On Friday, Lithuania's Minister of Energy stated about the possible legal action to Minsk because of the construction of nuclear power plants "saving the cost of security." This is another step in Vilnius in an aggressive campaign to counter this project are of fundamental importance for Russia and Belarus. But what is the reason of such a strange policy of Lithuania?

A recent statement by President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite that Ostrovets NPP under construction in Belarus is the country for its "existential security issue" is not the first attempt to discredit the project of Vilnius. Lithuanian escapade directly affect the interests of the Russian industry. Finish building the nuclear power plant in Belarus, the structures of the state corporation "Rosatom" will have in terms of increasing pressure, which has a lot of supporters not only in Lithuania, but also in Belarus itself.

Asymmetrical exchange arguments

Speech by Dalia Grybauskaite, President of Lithuania which has promised to bring information about threats Ostrovetskaya (Belarusian) nuclear power plant before US Vice President Joe Biden, was preceded by a series of controversial events. In early May, the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry presented the Ambassador of Belarus official note in connection with "possible incident" at the Ostrovets NPP supposedly a few weeks earlier at the site between the two reactors under construction collapsed concrete structures, as reported by the satellite channel "Belsat" broadcasting from Poland in the Belarusian language. In response to the note of the Ministry of Energy of Belarus reported that on April 8 when the concrete floors of one of the residential and outbuildings really happened partial damage to the formwork support structures. However, the ministry said it was a defect in the preparatory work, the consequences of it were removed, and the "damage and destruction constructs taken by the customer, on the Belarusian nuclear power plant facilities for all the construction was not."

In the middle of the month there is a new message about the incident at the nuclear power plant construction. One of the first this information disseminated Belarusian activist of the United Civil Party Ulasevich Nicholas, who lives in the city of Ostrowiec. He wrote on his Facebook page that the planned ceremony on July 11 reactor installation did not take place due to the fact that «330-ton unit, for unknown reasons, broke and fell down from a height of up to 2 4 meters." At the same time he entered a comment on the Belarusian Energy Ministry, which was not so categorical as in May. The Ministry recognizes that on-site storage of the reactor vessel during lifting work on his movement in the horizontal plane there was "an emergency situation".

A few days later and was presented an official comment by the state corporation "Rosatom", the structure of which includes "Atomstroyexport". As explained by the first deputy director of Rosatom Alexander Lokshin, on the night of 9 on 10 July reactor vessel was planned to be moved to a distance of about 10 meters without changing the horizontal position, but in the process of subcontractor was allowed deviation from the instructions, which is why there was a skewed load when rise, the reactor vessel slipped on the rafters and hung diagonally, coming into contact with the ground. However, according to Lokshin, describe the situation wording "hit the ground" or "drop" is incorrect, as "body movement speed does not exceed walking speed" and no significant effects of the housing is not subjected.

A separate part of the commentary has been devoted to further action. The first deputy head of Rosatom said that if the customer decides not to use the ill-fated building, then on the first power unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant will be installed reactor vessel, intended for the second unit - its manufacture is now being completed at the factory "ATOMMASH" Volgodonsk. The main argument in favor of such a decision brought Lokshin considerations of "public acceptability in the construction of the first nuclear power plant in the country," stressing that "technical barriers to the use of the body does not exist." "There is no event that caused any damage, did not happen. Maximum, what can you say - about erased on the body paint factory due to the friction of metal sling, "- said in a statement.

However, by the time this comment was presented to the public, it has been formulated and distributed completely different version of events, and made it the Lithuanian side. The same Grybauskaite - a long-standing opponent of the Belarusian nuclear power plant - has once again demanded that the neighbors to ensure international safety standards of work stations, threatening otherwise to connect the world community to ensure that does not prevent its use. "The repeated one after the emergency cases show that our fears were justified," - said the president of Lithuania. Two days later, the Foreign Ministry of Belarus once again presented a note on nuclear power - already the third since the beginning of the year.

The origins of the Lithuanian concern - that the NPP is located just fifty kilometers from Vilnius. The reaction of the Lithuanian authorities had clearly sustained in the logic of the information war, one of the basic techniques of which is forcing the situation by artificially maintain interest in the topic and asymmetrical responses to the arguments of the enemy. The very next day after the appearance of comments Rosatom Grybauskaite, presented his credentials to the new Ambassador of Lithuania to Belarus Andrius Pulokasu, he expressed the need to require admission to the construction of some international experts NPP. This demand was made at least strange, because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and so is able to track the progress of construction and makes it regularly - the next mission of the organization will visit Belarus in early October.

Along with the performance Grybauskaite, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius questioned the version of events as presented by the Russian state corporation, and the Belarusian anti-nuclear campaign, uniting movement "Scientists for nuclear-free Belarus," local party "green" and social movement "Eco House", sent an open letter to the the country's leadership, Director General of the IAEA and a number of organizations demanding the immediate stop construction.

The next step was the opponents of nuclear power, a special conference in the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences assigned to 23 August - the anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, one of which resulted in the accession of the Baltic States to the Soviet Union. It was at this conference made a statement Grybauskaite that the nuclear power plant in Belarus - is "existential question of security." "Ostrowiec - one of the tools that can be used non-conventional means against the Baltic countries", - added the President of Lithuania, clearly drawing parallels with the events of the year 1939. A former Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has proposed an amendment to the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs doctrine position that Lithuania clearly against Ostrovets NPP at any position of third parties.

Revival "Atommash"

Despite the continuous international pressure, the Belarusian authorities are not ready to abandon the project because it will significantly optimize the energy balance of Belarus. In particular, recently the Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Semashko said that the NPP commissioning will allow to replace about 5 billion cubic meters of gas, or about a quarter of the amount that is consumed in the country in the year (in 2015 year Belarus "burned» 19,1 billion cubic meters ).

If we look at this story from the Russian side, it has entered the final stage of the construction of nuclear power plants - one of the biggest successes of the domestic nuclear industry in the international arena for the entire post-Soviet period. In this case, unprincipled, that station is located on the territory closest to the Russian post-Soviet states, as the fate of the project was not easy. Plans to build a nuclear power plant in Belarus, which could cover the energy deficit, appeared in the early nineties, but only at the end of the last decade, the project began to take real shape. And initially the right to build the station claimed not only Russia, but also France, China and even the United States. However, the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has made a choice in favor of Russia, and in 2011, the construction began.

A key supplier of equipment for the Belarusian nuclear power plant "ATOMMASH" was selected, built in 1970-ies in the Rostov region as the main enterprise of the new city of Volgodonsk. This giant plant Volgodonsk population in just a few years has grown fourfold, but the company's development has slowed down after the Chernobyl accident, and with the collapse of the USSR, it turned out to be an extremely difficult situation. Complete collapse was avoided - on "Atommash» was launched production of equipment for gas turbine power plants and oil refining, but a complete rebirth of the enterprise only began in 2012 year with the entry of the state corporation "Rosatom" structure. This allowed expand the factory technical upgrading program (at the end of last year in the modernization has been invested about 3 billion) and significantly increase its staff.

Already in the year 2013 "ATOMMASH" received an order to produce reactor VVER-1200 for the Belarusian nuclear power plant - the first of 30 years, first delivered for export and at the same time the most powerful in the CIS (1200 MW). Shipment to the customer of the reactor, work on which was completed in October last year, has become, perhaps, the main event in the post-Soviet history of the plant. Following Belarus on "Atommash" planned to produce equipment for the nuclear industry in other countries - India ( "Kudankulam" NPP), China, Turkey (NPP "Akkuyu"), Finland and others. The plans of the company listed the development of production of components for the new reactor plant VVER-TOI MW capacity 1300 and 100-life years instead of the current 60 years.

In this context, the injection of the situation around the Belarusian nuclear power plant appears directly affecting the interests of "Atommash" - too much is being done for the first time in this project. Therefore Rosatom management will make every effort to deflect any suspicion from the Volgodonsk plant, as evidenced by some of the language in a comment about the July incident at the nuclear power plant. The blame for the incident was assigned to subcontractors, both in material and non-material in the part. "In the information field are having doubts about the wisdom of using this body, that at least is the reputational damage. That is the fault of these people and, in general subcontractor ", - said Lokshin.

"Common EU problem"

But let us return to Lithuania, to answer the question - whether only a "security issues" is explained as an aggressive opposition to the project. Former Speaker of the Seimas of Lithuania and the head of the Supreme Council during its separation from the USSR Vytautas Landsbergis at the already mentioned conference at the Academy of Sciences in terms did not hesitate. "This nuclear terrorism and revenge ... If you need to install the bomb over Vilnius, the head of the orders go through. Profitable or not - anyway. It will be done as he wants the head of a great and guilty will be a small squire. Let's help the "squire", raising the question of its direct responsibility, calling on it to understand and change the place of construction ", - he said, apparently referring to Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko, and insisting that the construction near the Lithuanian border is conducted exclusively spite Lithuania. But this professor has made a reservation: "This is a direct threat and damage - now, first, because of the constraints of economic development".

Recall that separated from the Soviet Union, Lithuania became 21-th country in the world using nuclear energy to generate electricity. Took out the country inherited from the Union provided Lithuanian Ignalina NPP needs to 80% and the important status in the energy supply of the region, but has been closed for the EU as a request does not meet European safety criteria. In principle, this in itself is not a problem - it was possible to buy cheap electricity from Russia, but thus Lithuania fell into the "energy dependence on Russia," and in the Baltic States this sounds like a curse. Do not let this "dependence" from Vilnius tough demands of Washington, and the Vilnius - from other EU countries, studiously resist, for example, the construction of the "Nord Stream" (both first and second). To solve this largely contrived problem was with the help of electricity shackles with Poland and Sweden, which cost dearly - more than 600 million euros.

At the same time far away from the Ignalina NPP - Visaginas - began to build a new station - a modern, meeting all requirements of the EU and the Japanese Hitachi reactor (such as, incidentally, stood on the infamous "Fukushima-1»). At the same time the construction of nuclear power plant in Belarus started after only two years after the closure of Ignalina and it will be put into operation for ten years before the station in Visaginas - in 2018-m. In Lithuania's energy strategy that does not fit.

First, all goes to the fact that to buy from Belarus energy will be extremely beneficial not only for Lithuania, but also throughout the region (Lukashenka has stated that the NPP in Ostrovets is the cheapest in the world), then there will be again the infamous "energy dependence on Russia "(even though nuclear power is in Belarus, the project, the Russian). Secondly, in the Visaginas nuclear power plant will work only if the energy market already anyway is busy Belarusian-Russian competitors.

Therefore, in Vilnius brewing resentment against the EU, which framed the republic, providing the competitors in the energy market long-term advantage. And if the nuclear power plant project in Belarus will not be able to torpedo the need of it somehow defend themselves - and not in a nuclear sense, namely economically. The parliament has already registered the bill expressly prohibits the Cabinet not only to buy energy from Belarus and provide the Lithuanian infrastructure for its resale in a third country, and even to negotiate on the matter. The next step - to persuade neighbors to do the same by pushing them through Brussels. As stated Dalia Grybauskaite during a recent meeting with the Vice President of the European Commission on Energosoiuz Maroš Šefčovič: "Ostrovets NPP should be a common problem in the EU."

A source: LOOK

Author: Nikolay Protsenko, Stanislav Borzyak

Tags: Lithuania, the Baltic States, Belarus, NPP construction, nuclear power, Analytics, Energy