BRILLIANT project – Cooperation in the Baltic region

The region of the European Union around the Baltic Sea, particularly such countries as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are not adequately integrated to the European electricity grid. At the end of 2009 Ignalina NPP, which generated ~70-75 % of electricity in Lithuania and supplied electricity to Latvia and Estonia, was permanently shutdown leaving the region without nuclear power generation. Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are discussing building new NPP of ABWR type in Visaginas (Lithuania). Poland employed its own program for nuclear energy and is a potential partner for Visaginas NPP as well.

New electricity grid interconnections Lithuania – Sweden and Lithuania – Poland have been constructed and started the operation at the end of 2015. They provide  the possibilities for synchronization of the electricity grid of the Baltic region with the continental Europe. Building new NPP would affect the whole region not only in technological but in macroeconomic field as well. However, the construction of new nuclear power plant in the Baltic countries meets various obstacles. In the Horizon 2020 project BRILLIANT (Baltic Region Initiative for Long Lasting InnovAtive Nuclear Technologies) the main obstacles to the development of nuclear power in the region are addressed.

The project covers the following areas related to nuclear power development: nuclear fuel cycle including management of radioactive waste, safety of nuclear power plants, planning of the energy sector development, energy security, macroeconomic impact in the region, education and training. It is well known that different level of nuclear safety and radiation safety knowledge as well as Research, Development and Education (R&D&E) infrastructure exists in the countries of the Baltic region. Such differences and lack of cooperation prevent from effective utilization of potential of each country. The project is implemented by: the coordinator is Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI) (Lithuania); and the partners National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) (Poland); University of Tartu (Estonia); University of Latvia (UL) (Latvia); KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Sweden), National Center for Physical Sciences and Technology (FTMC) (Lithuania), and industrial partner VAE SPB (Lithuania).

Baltic countries and Poland miss the regional approach in planning development of the energy sector. The regional competences developed in the frames of project will create the basis for application of regional approach in the planning of energy sector in participating countries, and those will contribute to the implementation of Energy Union in the EU. The cooperation and networking in the BRILLIANT project will reduce regional disparity in the European Union and will improve participation of Baltic countries and Poland in the EURATOM and other EU research programs. The ultimate goal of BRILLIANT project is development of roadmap to establishment of the virtual EUROBaltic Centre of Nuclear Research and Technology, with competence centers established in all participating countries.

The project BRILLIANT has started in July 2015. During the first 18 months of the project there have been a number of activities implemented. At first the partners collected information on the existing research infrastructure, energy sector infrastructure, and the information on the radioactive wastes in the countries represented in the project. The collected information on research infrastructure was used to perform SWOT analysis of Nuclear education and training in the Baltic States. The collected information on energy sectors in each country is used to develop a country-specific model for MESSAGE modelling tool. To ensure that these country-specific models are developed correctly the trainings were provided by LEI experts to all project partners. In the next step these models will be joined together to establish a regional model of the energy sector.

Students from the European Master in Nuclear Energy (EMINE), from KTH’s Master in Nuclear Energy Engineering (TNEEM), from Technical University in Krakow -AGH are actively cooperating with the BRILLIANT project participating in the BRILLIANT seminars, courses and preparing materials for BRILLIANT events.  BRILLIANT young students and experts participate in the Summer Course on the Geological Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel. European Nuclear Education Network – ENEN has been well informed about the BRILLIANT project and some of Brilliant events like the Summer Course in Oskarshamn, Sweden.

BRILLIANT project was presented during the information event in Almedalen in Sweden on Nuclear Energy prospects. This event was organized in July 2016 by Women in Nuclear and The Swedish Nuclear Association as a public information event tailored specially for political experts.

A concept of EUROBaltic Centre of Nuclear Research and Technology is suggested in the first period of the Project and will be further developed. In accordance with the proposed concept of the EUROBaltic Centre, the competence centers in relevant areas are foreseen in all participating countries.

A concept of EUROBaltic Centre of Nuclear Research and Technology with the competence centers in all countries participating in BRILLIANT


BRILLIANT meetings with wider public

A number of meetings with wider public was organised in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland. These meetings were open to all interested people from different ministries, regulators, agencies, students, etc. In each meeting presentations on nuclear power development, project objectives and importance of regional cooperation to solve the energy sector issues were given and followed with live discussion with the participants. Seminars contributed to an efficient political and public communication on the important subjects related to nuclear power and its regional impact.

BRILLIANT workshop in Oskarshamn (Sweden)

Up to now three competence build-up visits to the “nuclear fuel cycle hub” in Oskarshamn, Sweden have been realized. The first competence build up visit to Oskarshamn took place on December 10-11, 2015 for 19 Brilliant participants and 7 representatives of Oskarshamn community. The second visit took place on September 28-29, 2016 for 13 participants, including the ambassador of Poland in Sweden and representatives of some ministries of energy of BRILLIANT countries. The third visit took place on March 20 – 23, 2017 with participation of Deputy Minister of Energy of Poland, acting director of Radioactive Waste Management Agency (Lithuania), representatives of State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (Lithuania), National Atomic Energy Agency (Poland), Environmental Projects Management Agency (Lithuania) and other organisations.

All visits had a similar program, including 1) guided tour of the Reactor O3; 2) Visit to Interim Storage for Spent Nuclear Fuel, 3) Visit to Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory; and 4) Visit to SKB, Canister Laboratory. These competence build-up visits provide the best possibility for all stakeholders of nuclear power development (scientists, students, regulators, decision-makers, etc.) and the public to get in touch with the real example how the nuclear power infrastructure could be organized and how the nuclear facilities could cooperate with the local community.


Egidijus Urbonavicius, Lithuanian Energy Institute