Nuclear reactors just one way for stable electricity production in Lithuania – official

  • 2024-04-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Energy Ministry's proposal to develop small nuclear power reactors in Lithuania after 2030 is only one of the ways to ensure stable electricity production in the future, Deputy Energy Minister said on Tuesday.

"The Energy Ministry is talking about the need for stable energy generation, not necessarily meaning nuclear energy," Zananavicius told LRT Radio.

"Nuclear power is just one of the options, because there are no other options today. If new groundbreaking technologies emerged, they would certainly be considered as well," he said.

The development of nuclear energy through the construction of small reactors is envisaged in the National Energy Independence Strategy until 2050, which was presented to the parliament last week.

According to Zananavicius, renewable resources alone will not be enough to meet Lithuania's growing electricity consumption and its goal of producing about 70 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity annually in the future.   

"First of all, we might need nuclear or other stable energy sources for times when there is no sun or wind. Because (...) we must ensure in any case – whether there is wind and sun or not – that there is enough electricity. This is why the need for stable generation has not disappeared in any country," he said. 

Osvaldas Ciuksys, president of the Nuclear Energy Association, stressed that modern nuclear technologies are safe and that the lifetime of nuclear reactors is much longer than that of solar or wind power plants. 

"Even in the event of an accident, the reactor is automatically shut down and cooling is ensured, which prevents fuel meltdowns and other unfavorable and irreversible things," Ciuksys told LRT Radio.  

"So, the likelihood of an accident is minimized, and we are talking about a completely different level of safety," he added. 

According to the association's president, the cost of electricity produced in a nuclear reactor ranges from 50 to 60 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), making it competitive with that generated from renewable sources.

Both President Gitanas Nauseda and Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said last week that next-generation nuclear technology should be considered as an option. 

Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys said while presenting the new strategy that nuclear energy would reduce the burden of maintaining the energy system on industry and consumers.

For Lithuania to have a small nuclear reactor operational by around 2040, political decisions would have to be made between 2028 and 2030, he noted.