Baltic nuclear power plant- Kaliningrad Russian Federation
This dodgy deal is updated regularly
This project is not yet fully funded, and is a no go for banks. It is closely tracked by BankTrack.
This project has seen public rejection since the origins of the plans. Alexey Milovanov
In 2008 the local government in Russian Kaliningrad region and the
Russian state-owned nuclear power corporation "Rosatom" announced
a plan to build two nuclear reactors of VVER-1200 design.
Construction site is located approximately 10 km from the border with Lithuania.
It is projected that the first unit will be connected to the grid by
2016 and second by 2018. While proponents of the project say that
electricity is needed locally, local environmentalists revealed in
2009 a confidential report by the nuclear industry suggesting that
electricity will be exported to neighboring countries and expensive
infrastructure will be built to transport electricity. Costs of two
reactors estimated at Euro 5-6 billion and additional infrastructure
may cost up to Euro 3 billion. That includes powerlines to Lithuania,
Poland, Sweden, Germany and Belarus, also some other related
public opinion is negative about the nuclear plant since 2007 when it
was first initiated. In 2011 environmental campaigners tried to
organize a local referendum to ban the nuclear plant but local
parliament did not permit it. There are concerns over nuclear
accidents which, according to the designers, has small probability,
but still possible. Another concern is nuclear waste which will be
stored in the region. In the Environmental Impact Assessment, the
project designers said the waste will be transported to the facility
in Siberia which still doesn't exist and there is no official plans
to build it.
According to local
press reports, the region has enough energy for local needs and
actually doesn't need additional sources of power. As of 2009,
local government investment program included construction of
various non-nuclear energy facilities which would be compensating
projected growth in energy demand.
2007 a program of regional development of Kaliningrad was prepared by a
group of experts for local government.
It came as a surprise, that construction of a nuclear plant was
recommended. After protests by local environmentalists, Kaliningrad
government said it removed the "nuclear option" from the program. But
in April 2008 the governor of Kaliningrad region Georgy Boos and head of
"Rosatom" Sergey Kirienko signed an agreement on the construction of
a nuclear plant.
to the public opinion poll conducted in 2007, 67% of the local
residents opposed the nuclear plant and prefer natural gas for
also development of renewable sources of energy. Post-Fukushima
opinion poll in 2011 demonstrated approximately similar level of
rejection by regional citizens.
The original program of the Russian nuclear power development was approved by the federal government
in February 2008. The Baltic NPP project appeared in 2008 but not until
September 2009 was it out of the Russian government's program of nuclear
power development. And only when Rosatom promised to take no
new funds from the state budget for the construction of Baltic NPP -
prime-minister Vladimir Putin signed a decree ordering to include
this plant into federal program of reactor construction.
2009 Rosatom presented the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of
the Baltic NPP to the public. The assessment was strongly criticized by
the environmental groups for presenting wrong and distorted
information. Some information required by Russian law (such as on
alternatives to nuclear plant on local level, on radioactive waste
management, on decommissioning of reactors) was missing in the EIA.
Instead of rejecting the EIA as incomplete, Russian governmental body
Rostekhnadzor issued a license for construction.
violations of democratic norms were reported by observers at public
hearings where EIA was presented. Organizers of the hearings
("Rosatom" and city administration of Neman) did not allow about
200 local citizens to participate
July 2009, a roundtable took place in Kaliningrad where
chief-designer of the Baltic NPP Ivan Grabelnikov was answering
questions from the public. According to Mr. Grabelnikov, some
probability of large nuclear accident still exists for this type of
what must happen
Generale and Coface should, like its
predecessors BNP Paribas and HypoVereinsbank already have, distance them self
from any involvement with this project.
the nuclear industry promises to provide some thousands of jobs, the majority
of it is for well-trained and experienced in nuclear power industry
professionals. There is no such professionals living in the area.
Only very small number of jobs will be left for thousands of jobless
local residents. At the same time, there is big lack of trained
nuclear professionals in Russia in general.
is agricultural and will be strongly affected by the project. There are companies that produce milk products and
other a/c types of food. Most of them, if not all, will have to leave
the area around the plant. There is no other type of business
developed in the area. Therefore, this project is likely to have more of a negative impact on the local economy rather than a positive impact.
Environmental Impact Assessment
does not comply with Russian legal norms. There is serious lack of
information about: future pollution from nuclear plant, radioactive waste management (it is not even clear how different
types of waste will be disposed), there is also a lack of data about pollution
caused by uranium mining, production, decomissioning and radioactive
waste. The analysis of the possible nuclear accidents is not adequate -
it is said that radiation release may only affect the territory of
the nuclear plant itself but not any other territories. At the same time,
there is absolutely no scientific or technical arguments on why radiation would stop on the border of the facility and not go further.
The design of the nuclear plant (pressurized water reactor) has serious
flaws - there are scenarios which includes explosion of the reactor
(as a result of losing external power supply, big loss of coolant,
etc). At the same time, no protective measures for local population is included in the project. That may lead to larger damage for local
population in case of a more serious accident.
Arrival of the nuclear power industry
to Kaliningrad region sidelines the development
of alternatives - renewable sources of energy, the most
environmental friendly among existing power alternatives. Before
the nuclear industry arrived to the region, it was planned that a 50 MWt
windpower plant will be built on the coast of Baltic Sea. But this
plan was cancelled after the decision to build reactors was made.
According to local reports, all research in the field of renewables
development in Kaliningrad region was halted.
safety norms in Russia are so low that the country still operates 11
Chernobyl-type reactors (RBMKs), thus exposing Europe to the risk of a new
nuclear catastrophe. In Luthuiania, reactors of this type were shut down due to
concerns of the European Commission regarding their safety. Many corruption
scandals in "Rosatom" over the past two years clearly demonstrated that the
Russian nuclear industry cannot be trusted to produce quality equipment for
Although the site of the Baltic NPP falls
within the international airway zone to Kaliningrad, the reactor design has
never been tested for the case of a large airplane crash. According to the Lithuanian government, the
Baltic NPP project has not been subjected to safety testing based on the
methodology agreed by the EU and third countries.
Local residents in Kaliningrad have been denied the right to vote whether they want this nuclear plant to be built or not. There have been a total of 4 applications requesting a local referendum so far, but all of them were rejected by local authorities for various formal reasons.
to independent public opinion polls, the majority of local citizens oppose the
Baltic NPP and prefer non-nuclear options of development. Their voice has, however, been ignored . A large
number of local citizens were not allowed to participate in the official public
hearings of this project and "Rosatom", the company which is implementing the
project, has refused to hold additional public hearings, even in areas which
will be directly affected by the project.
There have also been numerous public protests in the region since the
construction of the Baltic NPP started.
There is no need for electricity in
Kaliningrad Oblast, no need to Germany, Poland and Lithuania. This project is
being implemented in a region where no new energy capacity is needed. The
latest study of the Baltic NPP has indicated that the local energy system is
not capable of transferring the large amounts of energy the Baltic NPP is
slated to produce. It also concluded that the project is too expensive and that
the price of energy from this plant will be higher than from other market
suppliers in the Baltic region. And there is also a strong opposition in
Lithuania, which voted against nuclear power in a national referendum in 2012.
water at the construction site is very close to the surface and sometimes
right on the surface. At the same time, according to Russian construction
norms, it must not be higher than 40 meters down from surface.
According to a source in the local government of Kaliningrad region, geological research on the site chosen for nuclear plant was done with many
flaws, nuclear plant designers and constructors did not follow
necessary procedures. An
evaluation of seismic risks at the site has never been performed.
to research commissioned in 2010 by Russian branch of Transparency
International and Ecodefense, corruption risks in the Russian nuclear industry are very high.
Up to 40% of trade deals (involving buying of construction materials
for new reactors) are characterized with corruption risk. In the past
two years, there was at least two cases when wrong construction
materials were used for the construction of new reactors. At
Novovoronezh-2 nuclear plant, apprx 600 km south of Moscow, cracks
were found in the concrete foundation of the reactor which may lead to an
accident when the reactor is put into operation. Also, at Leningrad-2
nuclear plant, the frame built of steel armature for the new reactor was
completely falling apart last summer. In both cases, the root of
the problem was the use of wrong (cheaper) type of construction materials
for new reactors.
design is new, such reactors have never been put in operation yet.
Next to Mochovce and Temelin, the Kaliningrad nuclear project is set to
become one of the next focal targets of the European anti-nuclear movement. The potential funders of
this project run the clear risk of being exposed publicly across Europe for
their financial support.
started in 2010. In November Rosatom announced that concrete
foundation of the first reactor unit can be laid in April 2011.
2009, Rosatom said that, unlike with other projects, it will not need
additional funds from Russian government for the construction of
Baltic NPP. Corporation announced it will use money which they
already extracted from Russian state budget from the nuclear power
development program. It is also said that foreign investors will be
involved - Rosatom will allow foreign companies to buy 49% stake in
Jul 01, 2011
On July 1,
2011 it was announced that Rosatom proposed to Germany to import electricity
from the Baltic NPP when it's built. That announcement came a day after Berlin
confirmed plans to stop using atomic power by 2022.
At the same
time, more opposition is growing locally against Baltic NPP. In the beginning
of 2011, group of public organizations announced it will demand a referendum on
nuclear plant to be held in Kaliningrad region. They applied to local
authorities with several proposals to hold referendum on nuclear plant, but
proposals were officially rejected 4 times already. In August, a court case
started by activists against local authorities over rejection of referendum
referendum may be organized in city of Baltiysk, located in Kaliningrad region.
Local citizens alarmed with news that radioactive waste will be transported
through this city and wants to ban it by local referendum.
authorities are strongly opposed this project. Current president of Lithuania
repeatedly criticized Baltic NPP project and promised to initiate European
legislation which will prevent the EU from buying electricity from dangerous
nuclear reactors (Baltic NPP near Kaliningrad and Ostrovets NPP in Belorussia -
both started by Russian Rosatom). It is believed that without possibility to
sell electricity in Europe, Rosatom would not need new reactors in Kaliningrad
because the Russian region itself doesn't need that much of electricity and has
good capabilities to generate enough non-nuclear power.
May 23, 2011
On May 23,
"Rosatom" official said France's EDF and Italy's Enel are among
companies in talks on a stake in its planned nuclear power plant in
Kaliningrad. At its 2011 annual meeting, ENEL board of directors confirmed that
it's planning to analyze the proposal to buy a stake in the project, but so far
feasibility study is not yet prepared and so decision can not be taken. No
company across the world confirmed so far its participation in the project.
Reuters reported that Russian company "Inter Rao UES"
("Rosatom" agent in charge of finding foreign investment) did hire
the Societè Generale as "responsible for the development of a banking
feasibility study of the Baltic NPP in order to secure the foreign investments
to NPP. It wads reported that SC will approach EDF and ENEL.