TALLINN - Estonian Economy and Communications Minister Juhan Parts says that the government has to decide in the next few months whether to start building the next block of the new oil shale-based power station since the Lithuanian referendum this Sunday about the nuclear power plant forces Estonia to expand its power stations, Postimees writes.
"We will face a decision in the near future whether to build a second station too," Parts said.
The more than 900 million euros contract with the French concern Alstom allows Estonia to decide, in the middle of the next year latest, whether to build another block.
In official rhetoric, building the first 300 MW block of the new Auvere oil shale based power station has been considered inevitable, but the extension, a block almost as powerful, has been considered depending on the state's participation in the new Lithuanian nuclear power plant.
Eesti Energia nuclear energy department head Andres Tropp said that Lithuanian politicians will have to take the results of referendum into consideration. "It is clear that such a result of the referendum increased the risks of the project considerably and Eesti Energia takes that into consideration," he said. The Sunday referendum indicated that Lithuanians are against building a new nuclear power plant.
Parts didn’t rush to consider the nuclear power station project hopelessly stalled but stated that building the second block of the Auvere station became more likely. "If international cooperation keeps becoming harder then, especially after the referendum, the second Narva station becomes more realistic than it was before the referendum," he said.
Parts said that the first stage of the new power station in Auvere is economically feasible, its building has been approved by the European Commission too. "We don’t lift money from the state budget to the Narva stations, most of the capital comes from the credit capital," said Parts. "Currently the creditors have also evaluated the feasibility of the project. The economic perspective of the project is rather good."
The Pealtnagija ("Eyewitness") investigative journalism show in the public television ETV claimed last week that confidential documents of Eesti Energia, economy ministry, the State Audit Office and the government indicate that the largest investment of recent Estonian history, the new blocs of the Narva power plants in Auvere, was pushed through although the investment was based on legally questionable basis and unnecessary as it will most likely work with very low capacity most of the time.