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Published: 13 september 2012 17:00

Builders of Kaliningrad nuclear plant claim to be in talks on electricity export to the West

Baltijos atominės elektrinės statyba
Eglės Digrytės nuotr. / Construction site of the future Baltic Nuclear Power Plant in Kaliningrad

Builders of a nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad say that they have already launched talks on electricity exports to the West, as Russia's state-run nuclear holding company Rosatom is trying to solve the problem of how to sell surplus power that the new facility will generate when its only link to the West currently consists of "two cables," daily Lietuvos Rytas reports.

"Our people are already sitting at the negotiating table with a serious company that would like to purchase electricity from the Baltic Nuclear Power Plant (NPP)," Alexander Rolbinov, Kaliningrad's infrastructure development minister, told Lithuanian journalists.

The two-unit nuclear power plant is to generate 2,300 megawatts of power, undoubtedly too much for the Kaliningrad region. The first unit is expected to start operating in 2017.

The plant's builders expect that the so-called BRELL countries - Belarus, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - will increase capacities and upgrade their networks. There are also plans for two interconnections, from Poland and from Germany.

According to Lietuvos Rytas, Kaliningrad expects to increase the capacity of connections from Lithuania. Plans call for building a cable under the Baltic Sea, parallel to the Nord Stream pipeline.

"Certainly, we are planning to export part of energy produced by the Baltic NPP to the West. For this, we need some connections via Lithuania. We hope that the neighboring country will behave rationally. We have repeatedly invited it to the negotiating table and the invitation is still open," Rolbinov said.

Alexander Gulyaev, the Baltic NPP's acting director, said that when Lithuania builds a new nuclear power plant in Visaginas, the countries could be useful to each other.

"We will give you a gigawatt of electricity when you close the Visaginas unit for scheduled maintenance, and you will give us one. In any case, be sure that if you want to withdraw from the electricity ring and connect to the West, we will follow you. There is no other option," he said.

Gulyaev said that 700 people are now working in two shifts on the site of the nuclear power facility, some 10 kilometers from the Lithuanian border. Next year, when the construction work gains momentum, about 7,000 people will be employed.

The two-unit Baltic NPP is estimated to cost 5 billion euros, as much as the Visaginas plant's single 1,300-megawatt reactor, which is expected to be built not earlier than in 2020 to 2022, if all goes smoothly.

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