Lithuania again blocks electricity from Ostrovets

16 September 2021

Lithuania has capped the amount of electricity that can enter its grid from Belarus as part of measures to avoid importing power from the Ostrovets nuclear power plant. Grid operator LitGrid said the interconnection would be limited to 262 MW, with throughputs calculated every day.

Operators at LitGrid (Image: LitGrid)

LitGrid's methods would "ensure stable and reliable operation of the electricity system," said CEO Rokas Masiulis, but "at the same time, the import of electricity produced by Ostrovets to Lithuania will be restricted." The restriction does not affect power flowing from Lithuania to Belarus, with data showing exports of up to 383 MW taking place today.

The new limits were brought in yesterday, LitGrid said. The Belarusian Ministry of Energy said it had not been officially notified of the change but that it "will not affect the operation of the energy system of Belarus."

The new arrangement complements other restrictions on electricity trading put in place by Lithuania in concert with Latvia and Estonia. The countries collectively limit trading with what they call "third countries with unsafe nuclear power plants" as a way to prevent electricity from Ostrovets entering their interconnected grids.

Lithuania has accused Belarus of building Ostrovets in violation of international standards. Managers of the plant have reacted by inviting delegations from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Nuclear Regulators Group (Ensreg), including experts from Lithuania, to visit and assess safety first-hand.

Ensreg visited and supported a 'stress test' before publishing several recommendations for improvements to safety in 2018. By March 2021, it said progress had been made on seven priority issues. An Ensreg team began another visit last month focusing on three areas: external hazards, loss of power supply and ultimate heat sink and severe accident management.

In July, an IAEA team of experts conducted a nuclear security advisory mission at the request of the Belarusian government and reviewed the national security regime for nuclear material and associated facilities and activities.

Ostrovets is the first nuclear power plant to be built in Belarus. Unit 1 was connected to the grid in November last year and unit 2 is nearing completion. The plant is supplied by Russia's Rosatom, which has previously said: "Rosatom continues to work closely with all stakeholders and nuclear safety watchdogs to ensure there are no doubts that all safety issues have been properly addressed."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News