OSTROVETS, 19 August (BelTA) – Belarus is constructing the nuclear power plant to meet the domestic energy needs, although some part of energy might be exported, Deputy Energy Minister of Belarus Mikhail Mikhadyuk told reporters on 17 August during Belarus-Lithuania public hearings on the report on environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the Belarusian NPP in Ostrovets, BelTA has learnt.
The construction of the nuclear power plant is primarily meant to enhance the competitiveness of the Belarusian economy, he underlined. Today most of electric and heat energy is generated using expensive imported energy resources, which adds to the prime cost of energy and manufactured products. “Our energy industry heavily relies on gas. Italy is the only European country that has the same energy generation pattern (100KW costs 20 cents there). The construction of the Belarusian NPP will make things easier for the domestic economy and households,” Mikhail Mikhadyuk said.
The NPP construction will also help diversify energy sources. “Today Belarus imports 11-12 billion cubic meters of gas to meet energy needs, while after the commissioning of the NPP the figure will drop by 5 billion cubic meters, which will be a great achievement,” the Deputy Energy Minister said. The country is upgrading energy installations with a view to raising their efficiency, is working hard to make energy consumption more efficient, and is increasing the use of alternative energy sources. However, all these efforts will generate limited benefits, according to the Energy Ministry and the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. This will not be able to fully meet the country’s energy needs.
Commenting on the prospects of electric energy export, Mikhail Mikhadyuk said that the export will be possible if the overall energy industry of Belarus proves competitive and the price for Belarus’ electric energy is acceptable for country’s neighbors.
Mikhail Mikhadyuk believes that the reasons why Lithuania is not happy about the Belarus’ NPP project have to do with economy. “All this fuss around our project is nothing else but Lithuania’s efforts to promote its economic interests. Lithuania and other Baltic states had declared earlier that they were going to construct their own nuclear power plants. However, when three NPPs are built in such a small region, it is hard to find an investor, because energy sales prospects are uncertain. So they are irritated that Belarus is moving forward with the NPP construction project, although initially they were better positioned to make a go of it,” the Deputy Energy Minister said.