Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



CIVIL NUCLEAR
Belarus nuclear power plant stirs fears in Lithuania
By Alexander GREBENKIN with Tatiana KALINOVSKAYA in Minsk
Ostrovets, Belarus (AFP) Nov 26, 2017


Thirty years after the Chernobyl disaster spewed radioactive clouds into the sky and sent shockwaves across Europe, Belarus is building a nuclear reactor on the doorstep of the EU despite fears in neighbouring Lithuania.

Construction of the facility, located in the northwestern Belarusian town of Ostrovets only around 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Lithuanian border, is entering its final stages.

Its two reactors, each with a capacity of 1,200 megawatts, will be operational from 2019 and 2020 respectively.

The project, approved by strongman Alexander Lukashenko's government in 2008 and spearheaded by the Russian state energy corporation Rosatom, is being nearly completely financed by Moscow with a $10-billion loan.

The construction of the reactor initially revived bad memories in a country that had a quarter of its territory covered with radiation from the 1986 explosion at the Soviet-era plant in Chernobyl, in present-day Ukraine.

"When we heard that a plant was being built literally outside our windows, we were scared," said Nina Rybik, a writer who was one of tens of thousands evacuated from contaminated zones 30 years ago.

"But then the fear passed: we were told that advanced technology is being employed to build the station and that every single thing is being controlled," she told AFP.

She said that even those who had gathered signatures against the construction of the plant were now trying to find work there.

As worries about nuclear safety had been magnified by the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, the local authorities and the Russian contractor actively worked to reassure the nearby population.

To showcase their commitment to safety, Belarusian authorities demanded in 2016 that Rosatom replace equipment damaged during a fall, even though the Russian corporation insisted that the 330-tonne shell had merely touched the ground after sliding down from a four-meter height.

Rosatom calls the reactors "the most modern in the world" and says that they "respect all international norms".

Belarusian sociologist Elena Martishchenkova said that around half of Belarusians support the development of nuclear energy, with the figure reaching 65 percent in the Ostrovets district this year.

- Balloon ride for EU -

But there is little optimism for nuclear energy on the other side of the border.

Vilnius denounced the project as a violation of "international nuclear and environmental safety requirements", as it is located 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the EU border and only 40 kilometres from the Lithuanian capital.

Rosatom has repeatedly denied that the project violates international norms.

But Russia's long silence about a leak of a radioactive isotope in September, first made public by French authorities, has revived memories about the Soviet Union's initial denial then downplaying the danger the Chernobyl accident posed.

Rosatom denied last week the ruthenium-106 came from its facilities after Russia's meteorological service confirmed "extremely high" concentrations of the isotope about 30 kilometres from a site where the firm reprocesses spent nuclear fuel.

In an interview with AFP, Lithuania's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Rasa Jakilaitiene, accused Minsk of trying to conceal information and minimising the consequences of "at least six incidents" that occurred at the Ostrovets plant in 2016.

In May, the Lithuanian government even flew EU energy chief Maros Sefcofic in a hot air balloon over Vilnius so he could see how close the Belarusian plant was to the city, in an attempt to convince EU officials that the plant represented a health hazard.

The Baltic country even adopted a law declaring the nuclear plant a national security threat.

"In accordance with the law, no electricity from the Ostrovets nuclear power plant will be able to enter the Lithuanian power market, nor the European electricity market," spokeswoman of Lithuania's energy ministry Aurelija Vernickaite told AFP.

This closes a potentially important market for the nuclear plant with a capacity that exceeds the needs of Belarus' relatively small population of 9.5 million people.

Minsk has even considered having factories run overnight in order to use the surplus electricity.

- 'Very sensitive question' -

Another thorny issue is the processing of radioactive waste, which the Belarusian government says it is working on.

Constructing the plant was primarily seen as a means for Russia's Vladimir Putin to extend his economic influence in the former Soviet Union.

It was also seen as offering a helping hand to Lukashenko, who at the time faced an economic crisis aggravated by Western sanctions for his crackdown on the opposition.

But now that most of the sanctions have been lifted -- after Lukashenko freed several political prisoners -- Minsk is presenting the plant as a means to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, which fuels the power plants that create most of the electricity in Belarus.

Moscow has often used its oil and gas deliveries as a means to influence Belarus and Russia's other former Soviet neighbours.

"It is a very sensitive security and energy question -- dependence on one country, especially if it restricts current energy deliveries," Alexander Mikhalevich, an expert in nuclear issues at Belarus' Academy of Sciences, said during a recent energy conference in Minsk.

bur-gmo-apo-oc/as/spm/rl/iw

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Swiss nuclear plant finds defective tubes from France's Areva
Geneva (AFP) Nov 20, 2017
Tubes supplied by French nuclear energy giant Areva to a plant in northern Switzerland are defective and will be replaced, Swiss nuclear safety inspectors and the company said Monday. "The nuclear power plant in Leibstadt informed the Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (IFSN) a few days ago that some of its fuel production components did not meet specifications", the agency said in a statem ... read more

Related Links
Nuclear Power News - Nuclear Science, Nuclear Technology
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Cleaning Okinawan pig farm wastewater with microbial fuel cells

Brazilian ethanol can replace 13 percent of global crude oil consumption

The water world of ancient photosynthetic organisms

Surrey develops new 'supercatalyst' to recycle carbon dioxide and methane

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Burkina, France launch W.Africa's biggest solar plant

Improving solar cells by watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals

Artificial photosynthesis gets big boost from new catalyst

Glass microparticles enhance solar cells efficiency

CIVIL NUCLEAR
U.S. wind turbines getting taller and more efficient

New wind farm in service off the British coast

End tax credits for wind energy, Tennessee Republican says

New York sets high bar for wind energy

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Improving sensor accuracy to prevent electrical grid overload

Japan faces challenges in cutting CO2, Moody's finds

IEA: An electrified world would cost $31B per year to achieve

'Fuel-secure' steps in Washington counterintuitive, green group says

CIVIL NUCLEAR
New computational method provides optimized design of wind up toys

Statoil: Batteries can address wind power variability

Musk beats deadline for building world's biggest battery

Musk's record-breaking battery officially launches in Australia

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Vietnam jails activist for 7 years over toxic leak protests

Clean-up dives, recycling: Lebanese respond to garbage crisis

'Trash islands' off Central America indicate ocean pollution problem

Global light pollution increasing at a rate of two percent per year

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Libyan PM asks for easing of arms embargo

U.S. set to be net gas exporter for second year in a row

Norway sells foreign currencies in petroleum-related move

OPEC expectations lift oil prices higher

CIVIL NUCLEAR
Gadgets for Mars

Ice shapes the landslide landscape on Mars

Winds Blow Dust off the Solar Panels Improving Energy Levels

Previous evidence of water on Mars now identified as grainflows




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement