In all, Russia plans to have 26 nuclear power plant units by 2030, seven of them of which are already under construction.
The construction of the Baltic nuclear power plant in Neman district (10 km from the border of Latvia) began in 2010. The construction is carried out by the company Rosenergoatom. The project, managed by State Corporation Rosatom and a planned 49% of private investment, includes two power-generating units with power of 1170 MW and a lifetime of 50 years of each. Most of the electricity produced in the Baltic NPP is intended for export outside the Kaliningrad region to EU countries. The agreement on building the nuclear power plant was signed on the 16th of April 2008.
Public hearings on the preliminary assessment of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the construction and operation of power number 1 and number 2 of the Baltic NPP in Neman were held on the 24th July 2009. About 200 residents opposed to the project were kept out by the police and not allowed to participate in the hearings. Environmentalists expressed sharp criticism of the hearings due to the way they were carried out. Environmentalists point to the lack of protection against possible nuclear terrorist attacks and criticize the tactics of "the formation of a positive attitude towards the project”
by hiding potential risks. The problem of the disposal of the radioactive waste to the Russian Federation is also a concern (as it may have to pass through Lithuania).
According to the EIA, the estimated radius of the zone planning for a mandatory evacuation of the population in a severe accident does not exceed 800 m. Environmentalists dispute this.
There is also serious protest by Lithuania due to the dangerous proximity of the NPP to the borders.
According to the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russia has failed to explain why the power plant was to be built so close to the border and to carry out seismic analysis; the environmental impact assessment was based on old sources while an earthquake recorded in 2004 was stronger than previously anticipated; Moscow has also failed to explain how it is going to cool the reactor, how it will affect the river Nemunas and surrounding territories; it has not provided a detailed emergency plan and has not carried out stress testing. The transport of spent fuel through Lithuania is also a serious concern (1).
Public hearings in Sovetsk were planned on August 19th, but were canceled. The initiative group against the construction of the Baltic NPP believes the cancellation was caused due to citizen opposition to the project.
On the 17th of July 2009 a rally of supporters of Baltic NPP, organized by the United Russia party took place in Neman. Journalists argue that people were forced to come to the rally.
More than 500 citizens took part in a protest in the city Sovetsk (Kaliningrad region) on the 11th of September 2011, they also signed an official letter to the President of the Russian Federation requesting cancellation of the nuclear power plant construction.
A protest against financing of the construction of the Baltic NPP by the French banking group “Societe Generale” also took place in the center of Kaliningrad. There was also canvassing for a referendum on Constructio Baltic NPP in social networks. Deputies of the Kaliningrad Regional Duma refused activists of the initiative group in a referendum on the construction of the NPP.
The protests were not taken into account and gradually ended.
Construction on the project was suspended in 2013 after the Baltic states and the European Union decided last year to sever their electricity grids from that of northwestern Russia. Russia has thus decided to revise the project due to the need to find proper transmission links, as well as investors to supply funds and export routes.
According to Rosatom, the revised draft will be approved in 2014.