Switzerland contributes to nuclear plant's closure

  • 2000-09-07
VILNIUS (BNS) - Switzerland has joined the countries supporting the decommissioning of Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear power plant and allotted three million Swiss francs to move it along.

Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius received a letter from the Swiss government to inform him about Switzer-land's contribution to the fund, the government's press service announced Aug. 29.

Switzerland had effectively joined more than 10 other states that announced their financial support last May, when an international donors' conference was held in Vilnius to discuss the closure of the nuclear plant's first reactor.

The Lithuanian deputy minister of economics said that at the moment about 195 million euros ($174 million) had been donated to the fund administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Lithuania will need about 200 million euros by 2005, the date fixed for the closure of the first reactor.

Lithuania has pledged to decommission the first reactor by Jan. 1, 2005 and to set a date for the shutdown of the second reactor in the next few years.

The two Soviet-made RBMK reactors currently in operation are widely regarded as unsafe, which has largely determined the decision on the nuclear power plant's early decommissioning.

The reactors, of the same type as the one which had exploded at Chernobyl, were put into operation in 1984 and 1987. In spite of extensive upgrading, and installation of modern automated safety systems, the reactors are regarded as unsafe.

The Ignalina nuclear power plant generates about 70 percent of Lithuania's total energy.