Baltic unity missing

  • 2011-01-27
  • From wire reports

RIGA - The nuclear power plant project in Lithuania, to replace the former plant at Ignalina, is “doomed,” former vice-president at Latvia’s power utility company Latvenergo, Aigars Melko, said in an interview with the business magazine Lietiska Diena, reports news agency LETA. “I believe that the nuclear power plant project in Kaliningrad has doomed the proposed Baltic power plant project in Lithuania. As I am informed, construction work has already started in Kaliningrad,” said Melko.

Asked to comment on the reasons why the construction of the power plant in Lithuania has been delayed for so long, Melko noted that it has always been hard for the Baltic countries to come together on agreements. “Can you tell me at least one sector where the three Baltic countries have come to some sort of agreement? We were not able to divide our fishing waters and crude oil, and the same is happening with the power plant project. The Estonians have already announced that they are building their own power plant, and we ourselves are beginning to look at what we can do. It is likely that we will begin building our own nuclear power plant in the future, because this will be our only option. I believe we should begin thinking about this project now, and gradually prepare residents for such a project.”

As the former Latvenergo VP points out, the situation in the region will change dramatically once the Kaliningrad nuclear power plant is constructed. The output of the power plant will be four times the expected consumption of the Kaliningrad region. The power plant in Russia will not only provide the Baltics with energy, but also Poland, Germany and Sweden.
“In any case, once this power plant is built, the rules of the game will change in the region,” Melko added.
Melko was among a group of eight people, including five Latvenergo officials, who were arrested in June last year on suspicions of bribery, abuse of office, and money laundering. He has since been released on bail.