RIGA - The head director of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant said in an interview this week that Latvia would find itself in the most complicated situation in terms of energy efficiency when the second unit of the Lithuanian plant closes down in 2009.
In an interview published in Neatkariga Riga Avize, Viktoras Sevaldinas said that few solutions would be available to Latvia come 2009 and that the country would either have to buy electricity from Russia or build another power station for its own needs.
"There is no other option," he said.
Though he praised Latvia's idea to build a coal station, Sevaldinas said that such stations can only produce 0.5 - 1 percent of total power consumption. "It does not solve the global problem of power production," he warned.
An alternative, he said, would be to help Lithuania build a new nuclear power plant.
"If Latvia was very interested, it would participate with its capital in construction of a nuclear power station in Lithuania 's partly owned by it in order to obtain the right to purchase electric power on good terms from a station," he said.
He added that Estonia is also interested in an atomic plant power, but unfortunately, "our politicians are unable to agree," commented Sevaldinas, added that all three Baltic states would have to work together to pull off such a project.
Sevaldinas said Lithuania can not implement such a project alone since it requires major investment 's 1.5 's 3 billion euros, depending on the capacity and type of the block.
"The state will not be building such a station any more, but there are not such strong and such large private companies in Lithuania. Such a power station can not be built by a single investor, it certainly would be a consortium, partnership of private and public capital," he said.
Lithuania closed the first reactor of Ignalina's two nuclear power units at the end of last year as part of its pre-accession agreement with the European Union.
In 2004 Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, the first unit of which went online in 1983 and the second in 1987, has as many as 20 years of active service left, according to plant directors.
For the past 20 years, the plant has been a major source of export revenue for Lithuania, and most of the country's leaders are eager to win support, both in Brussels and neighboring countries, for building another.
Last year Ignalina produced 15.1 billion KWh of electric power, down 2.5 percent from 2003. This year the power output is expected to drop further by 35 percent to 8.5 's 9 billion KWh.
Last year Latvenergo, Latvia's power supplier, purchased electric power worth 37 million lats (52.6 million euros) from Estonia, Russia and Lithuania.