Russia said a nuclear power plant that is being prepared for the resumption of the active phase of construction in Kaliningrad could connect Central and Eastern Europe’s energy markets.

The Kaliningrad Nuclear Power Plant, which is also known as Baltic NPP, is under construction southeast of Neman, in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia.

“The Baltic NPP may overtake an important regional position not just as a reliable and cost-effective energy source, but as an interlink between NordPool and continental energy Europe’s markets that establishes the grounds for further regional integration,” Viktor Riedel, who heads the international project office of JSC “Atomenergopromsbyt”, which part of Russian state nuclear company Rosatom, told a panel discussion on new nuclear build issues and challenges during the European Nuclear Conference (ENC 2016) on October 9-13 in Warsaw.

Russia’s nuclear power plant operating company Rosenergoatom has been reportedly negotiating with European energy holdings energy power deliveries from the Baltic NPP.

According to the company’s 2015 report a number of Memorandums on Understanding and agreements on electricity sales from the Baltic NPP, which is under construction, were signed with major European energy holding companies in 2015 in the framework of implementation of Rosatom’s strategy of entering international electricity markets abroad.

The construction of the Baltic nuclear power plant began in 2010 in Russian Kaliningrad region to secure power supply for the Kaliningrad Oblast and the Baltic states. In June 2013 the rate of construction was reduced for re-designing the project. Baltic countries, including Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have declared their intention to withdraw from the unified energy system with Russia, which led to the decrease in construction rates and revision of the concept.

At the Warsaw conference, Riedel highlighted the importance of smart grids establishment, composed of a balanced kit of conventional and renewable energy sources. Nuclear energy should make up the base load and peak load will be covered by renewables in such a scheme.

“Renewable energy sources cannot satisfy ever increasing energy demand in European region. The keystone of a sustainable energy balance is a complex usage of renewable and nuclear energy that may guarantee delay-free and efficient energy production,” Riedel argued.

GE Hitachi Vice President for nuclear power plant sales in Europe, David Powell, also emphasised the importance of new nuclear build in Europe, noting that the Hinkley Point C NPP project in Great Britain will create 30,000 new workplaces.

European Nuclear Society (ENS) Secretary General Jean-Pol Poncelet argued that European climate policy changes, first of all, Paris agreement implementation, would give the nuclear energy fresh impetus. “Only 32% of energy is being provided nowadays by low-carbon sources, 50% by hydropower and the rest is covered by nuclear energy. Nuclear energy’s share in Europe is 27% and another 100-125 GW will be needed in the near future,” he said.

Baltic NPP construction started in 2009 on the grounds of the agreement between Rosatom and the Kalinigrad region government. WWER reactor of 3+ generation is planned to be installed at the NPP with the total capacity of 1200 MW. This reactor design meets all the post-Fukushima safety requirements and even exceeds them in some areas. Baltic NPP is the first Russian project, which is open for foreign participation.

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