Kirkilas urges expediency on nuclear amendments

  • 2008-01-23
  • By TBT staff
VILNIUS - Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas sounded the warning bell on the nuclear power law, saying that if lawmakers didn't act with haste and pass the necessary amendments foreign investors might pull out of the project.
"There is a certain timeframe for our partners too. Lithuania will not build this power plant alone. I am not sure that we will manage to keep them in this project in any other way," Kirkilas told lawmakers on Jan. 17.
To show the urgency of his plea, Kirkilas canceled planned trips to Afghanistan and Turkmenistan while lawmakers review the amendments, without which the nuclear power plant project cannot move forward.
The government has asked Parliament to pass by Feb. 1 a number of changes to the Law on Nuclear Energy which will allow for the creation of a national energy company that will attract funds for the project, which is likely to cost over 5 billion euros.

He said investors had wanted Lithuania's final position in December.
Lithuania passed the nuclear energy law last summer, but the law needs to be amended now that the government will not own 100 percent of the utility company that will serve as the driving force behind the project.
Lithuania wants to set its stake in the venture at 34 percent, leaving the other three partners with 22 percent each. Poland has objected to this division, since the country is interested in controling a larger share of output of the plant's two reactors, which will likely have a combined output of 3,200 megawatts.
Rumors are rife that Poland might even back out of the project in favor of building its own plant, though after the recent change in government it is uncertain now what Warsaw will decide.

Before any final agreement can be made, however, Lithuania must complete work on establishing Leo LT, the so-called national investor company that will attract finance, help construct and eventually run the plant.
According to a recent agreement, the state will own 62 percent in Leo LT, and the remaining 38 percent would go to a private energy operator, NDX Energija.
The Competition Council said on Jan. 18 that the creation of the new energy company would not require the council's approval.