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Published: 14 june 2013 17:36

Donors to unfreeze funding for Lithuania's Ignalina after crane problem is solved

Ignalinos atominė elektrinė
Agnės Radzevičiūtės nuotr. / Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant

The chief executive officer of Lithuania's shut-down Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) says that EU funding for a key closure project will be resumed immediately after Lithuania and the Russian-owned German company Nukem, the general contractor, reach a final agreement on the suitability of cranes for lifting spent nuclear fuel casks.

Darius Janulevičius said this after the Ignalina decommissioning donors' assembly in London on Friday.

"The donors - the European Commission and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - praised the progress made, because all issues are closed and only one issue remains to be solved, that of cranes. The plant itself has a plan of how to solve this issue, but I don't want to elaborate on it. The assembly confirmed that as soon as we present the first steps toward solving the problem of cranes, the funding will be unfrozen," he told BNS by telephone from London.

The plant's CEO could not say when this could be done.

"We'll have to work very fast. But I don't know whether it's days or weeks, or months. Definitely, not years," he said.

The donors discussed the problem of an additional 55-million-euro payment to Nukem. The INPP should transfer the money to Nukem as part of a solid radioactive waste storage project, known as B2/3/4. However, before the money is paid, there should be a guarantee from Russia's energy giant Rosatom, which owns Nukem, and agreement on a work schedule, Janulevičius said.

"The donors confirmed that the amounts have to be well-founded. Therefore, there should be a final agreement on the parent company's guarantee and on a work schedule to ensure that the project is completed," the plant's CEO said.

He added that they will seek to solve all remaining closure issues as swiftly as possible.

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