Lithuania blocks electricity trade with Belarus over Astravyets nuclear plant

Lithuania halted electricity trade with Belarus on Tuesday after the neighbouring country connected Astravyets nuclear power plant to its energy system, news wires reported.

In line with Lithuania's so-called anti-Astravyets law that bans electricity imports from Belarus once the plant launches production, Lithuanian transmission system operator Litgrid on Tuesday set the capacity for commercial electricity flow from the neighbouring country to zero.

Lithuania bans imports of power from nuclear power plants it deems unsafe, such as Astravets, an allegation which Belarus denies.

The decision also bans Baltics power trade with mainland Russia, which exports its power to Lithuania via Belarus. Power imported from Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, which borders Lithuania and Poland, is not affected.

Lithuania is the entry point for Russian and Belarus power exports to the Baltic States, which also include Latvia and Estonia. Russian electricity import and export monopoly InterRAO said that the termination of trade with Belarus by Lithuania “was no surprise”. The company planned to continue supplying Russian electricity to the Baltic states market in the open commercial section with Latvia, it said in a statement. At the same time the Latvian government on Tuesday voted to ban sales of Belarus energy in the country, and said it would require origin certificates for any Russian power imports, separating them from Belarus power, the local BNS newswire reported.

The Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian electricity grids will be physically separated from Belarus and Russia in 2025 after being synchronised with the Western European system.

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