Prime Minister: Latvia will not buy Belarusian nuke plant electricity

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On Tuesday, the government decided that Latvia would not buy Belarusian electricity if and when the controversial Astravyets nuclear power plant becomes operational, Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) said August 25.

Kariņš said discussions on the security of the Astravyets plant had been ongoing in the government for a long time. With the protests in Belarus against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko, security concerns have intensified.

In response to the question whether it will be physically possible to do this, given that Latvia does not have a direct connection to Belarus, the Prime Minister replied that the responsible ministry would figure it out.

Kariņš said that Latvia is still planning to open electricity trading through its connection with Russia. The issue of preventing the inflow of electricity produced in Belarus through a connection with Russia has yet to be resolved.

The new Astravyets plant will start production soon. Lithuania has long been trying to persuade Latvia not to buy electricity produced at the plant. Lithuania considers the station to be dangerous, particularly given that it is located only a few kilometres from the border and close to Vilnius.

Lithuania has therefore decided to boycott the station and called on its neighbors to do likewise. In fact, this means that Lithuania will cease electricity trade with Belarus once the station is operational. However, Latvia had decided that it would open up its connection to Russia in this situation, through which electricity produced in Astravyets could theoretically come to the Baltic market.

Electricity expert Gunars Valdmanis has said that the boycott does not affect the operation of the Astravyets station, since it is intended primarily for the internal market in Belarus. According to him, electricity from Belarus is also unable to compete with Scandinavian and Russian producers in terms of prices.

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