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Nuclear plant chaos

  • 2010-12-22
  • From wire reports

TALLINN - Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said on Dec. 13 there were too many nuclear power projects in the Baltic region and that the European Union should concentrate on protecting its electricity markets from unfair competition, Earthtimes reports. “Now we are talking about many new nuclear power projects in this region: in Finland, in Estonia, in Lithuania, in Belarus and in Kaliningrad,” Ansip told reporters at a conference on cooperation between Latvia and Estonia.

“Maybe there are too many nuclear power plant projects in such a small region,” he continued. Ansip said that he was against protectionism but that “somehow we have to protect the EU market from imported electricity.”
“In some countries they have some kind of perimeter fee to protect the EU market from imported electricity from third countries,” Ansip said.

Concerning the failure of a tender to find a builder for a new nuclear plant at Visaginas in Lithuania, Ansip said he was “a little bit disappointed,” but hopeful that a partner would eventually be found. “We are even thinking about our own nuclear power plant in Estonia, but it’s quite clear that there is existing infrastructure already in Lithuania and the energy produced at the new nuclear power plant in Visaginas will be cheaper than our own,” he said.

Lithuania’s year-long tendering process for the construction of a new nuclear power plant collapsed on Dec. 3 after the sudden withdrawal of the leading contender, South Korean utility Kepco. Estonia, Latvia and Poland are interested in partnering with Lithuania in the 5 billion euro project in order to reduce their dependence on Russian energy supplies.
The Lithuanian minister of foreign affairs (MFA), Audronius Azubalis, has asked for explanations in connection with statements from Belarusian officials regarding the planned construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, reports Charter 97. Vilnius still has objections to this project’s environmental impact.

Lithuania adheres to a position that the environmental impact assessment of the Belarusian NPP was not complete and Lithuania claims it has not been given answers to why a construction site located 50 kilometers from Vilnius was chosen.
The MFA note says Lithuania “totally disagrees” with the statement from Minsk on the “allegedly completed environmental assessment of the nuclear plant construction, and allegations Lithuania doesn’t have objections to the environmental assessment report.”

“The Ministry […] kindly asks Belarus to give explanations regarding statements from Belarus officials in connection with the allegedly completed environmental assessment of the planned construction of a nuclear power plant and regarding the alleged absence of Lithuania’s complaints on the environmental assessment report,” says the note of Dec. 6, 2010.