Lithuania at a loss as power plant shuts down

  • 2010-01-05
  • Oskars Magone

The Lithuanian nuclear power plant shut its doors on the new year.

IGNALINA - Lithuania has been left without it's primary source of power as the Chernobyl-style nuclear power plant at Ignalina has been shut down at the request of the EU.

The European Union considered the plant unsafe and made it a key point in the accession agreement that the country would shut the plant down by 2010. Lithuania appealed numerous times but was eventually forced to go ahead with the closure as of the first of the year.

The power plant was complosed of two units -- a scheduled third was never completed -- the first of which was shut down upon the country's joining the EU in 2004.

Lithuania now has as much as 40 percent less generating capacity. Plans to replace the plant will not come to fruition until 2018 at the earliest.

"Lithuania's economy and energy industry are not prepared to live without a nuclear power plant," plant chief Viktor Shevaldin told The Associated Press.

The country will likely now have to import significantly more energy from neigboring Russia, which Lithuanians fear will result in more Russian say in the workings of the country.

Estonian state owned power company Eesti Energia says it expects to cover at least 10% of Lithuania's power demand.