Lithuania should develop nuclear energy, Prime Minister said on Monday. Meanwhile, Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovič noted the importance of cross-party agreement between the country’s political parties.
“The strategic committee has decided that we are in favor of Lithuania being a nuclear energy state. Having assessed findings provided by experts and specialists and acting on the basis of those findings, we shall notify our regional partners that they should meet in the near time, analyze the proposals put forward and look for compromises and agreement,” Butkevičius told the reporters after the committee’s meeting on Monday.
According to Butkevičius, it means that the way for the company Visagino Atominė Elektrinė (Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant, or VAE) to hold talks with the regional partners and to look for compromises has been cleared. Talks would also be continued with the potential investor in the new nuclear facility, i.e. Japan’s Hitachi, Prime Minister said.
“Yes”, ButkeviČius said in response to the question whether the government planned to continue talks with Hitachi on the new nuclear facility project.
However, later he denied that the government supported the continuation of Visaginas nuclear facility project and, on top of that, its continuation in cooperation with Hitachi.
“It’s not true – we have said that we, as a country, are a nuclear energy state since we have to decommission our old Ignalina nuclear power plant… We cannot implement the Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant project as it is now, since the price of electricity is too high. Accordingly, we shall inform our regional partners so that they can hold discussions on their further decision. We have stated clearly that this project is too expensive for Lithuania… We hand the project over to the regional partners for review – if they find any decisions, let them put them forward again,” Butkevičius told reporters at the parliament (Seimas) later on Monday.
As reported last spring, the new facility’s electricity production cost should be 0.07-0.1 litas (EUR 0.02-0.029) per kilowatt-hour, not including another 0.1-0.15 litas in loan costs. The loans were then planned to be paid back over 18 years. Thus, it was estimated that the price of electricity generated at the new facility would amount to 0.17-0.25 litas until 2040.
Also, the Visaginas project was then estimated to cost up to 5 billion euros at current prices and around 6.8 billion euros including interest, inflation and changes in the investment’s value due to exchange rate fluctuations.