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Andrius Kubilius: Key decisions on future nuclear plant will be made by next parliament

Andrius Kubilius „Hitachi Works“ gamykloje
lrv.lt nuotr. / Andrius Kubilius in „Hitachi Works“ plant
Šaltinis: BNS

Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said on Thursday that it will be the next parliament, to be elected this fall, that will make key decisions on the new Visaginas nuclear power plant.

"This Seimas (parliament) will apparently have to decide on this (the concession agreement), but key decisions on the issues of the nuclear power plant's economic operation, costs, future electricity prices and the state's commitments, will be left to the next Seimas," he told lawmakers.

Kubilius confirmed that talks between Lithuania, US-Japanese company Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, chosen as the strategic investor, and energy companies of the three Baltic countries may take another year or a year and a half to complete.

"The talks on the economic benefit of the project and on how to make it even more beneficial and more attractive will likely continue for another year or a year and a half. The next Seimas will have to make decisions on this issue," he told reporters later in the day.

The prime minister said that he has no information that Latvia and Estonia have doubts about the project. "I don't know who heard that and where," he said.

The three Baltic prime ministers, who met in Lithuania last week, urged energy companies to continue their talks, so that the concession agreement could be signed by June, Kubilius said.

"If the project turns out to be economically unfeasible, Latvia and Estonia will not take part in it - and neither will Lithuania," he said.

Kubilius said that the concession agreement could be initialed in late March, and an initial agreement among shareholders - in April to May. A company to develop the Visaginas project should be established at the same time.

In order to implement the project, Lithuania must make political decisions and irrevocable financial commitments as soon as possible, within the next few months. According to media reports, a Final Investment Decision (FID) will be taken in around a year and a half, in 2013.

Before the document can be signed, all legal and financial documents, including a very complex crediting and financing outline that is still being worked out, must be finalized, the weekly magazine Veidas has reported.

According to the magazine, the signing of the concession agreement with Hitachi, which has to be approved by the government and by the Seimas, is the political decision that has to be made without delay and that will send an unambiguous message to the Japanese that Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia will participate in the Visaginas project. A shareholders' agreement, which will set out the future ownership structure of the company that will develop the project, has to be signed at the same time.

Lithuania expects to build the new nuclear power facility by 2020, with the help of the strategic investor and Latvian and Estonian energy companies. The project is estimated to cost up to 5 billion euros to build, with Japanese, US and European banks expected to provide some 50-70 percent of financing.

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