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Lithuania and Brussels fail to agree on extra 55 million euros to Nukem

B 2/3/4
IAE nuotr. / B 2/3/4
Šaltinis: BNS
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Lithuania and the European Commission do not agree on an additional 55 million euros to be paid to Germany's Nukem, the general contractor in a solid radioactive waste storage complex project, initially estimated to cost 124 million euros, at Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP).

The EU's executive body proposes that the money be transferred without waiting until INPP and Nukem sign a renewed agreement, but Lithuania wants to wait until the contractor fulfills all the conditions, that is, submits a program for delayed work and a bank guarantee.

The Lithuanian government discussed the Commission's opinion during its meeting on Monday.

The Cabinet told the Energy Ministry to ask the Commission to explain the main reasons for its proposal. However, a source in the government told BNS that Lithuania is not going to start a row with Brussels, calling the disagreement "a purely technical issue."

"We think that until there is a (renewed) agreement (between the INPP and Nukem), it's too early to provide the money for the B/2/3/4 (solid radioactive waste storage complex) project," an Energy Ministry official, who asked not to be named, told BNS.

"Before signing the revised agreement, the established conditions must be fulfilled, but Nukem hasn't done so yet. We think that the money shouldn't be given until it does. As a compromise option, we proposed to the Commission that the money be transferred to the Central Project Management Agency (CPMA) and then, if needed, to a bank, but they did not agree. They want us to transfer the money in a lump sum of 55 million euros. This is additional money for the project," he said.

Under a preliminary agreement reached on 29 May, INPP agreed to pay Nukem 55 million euros for additional work and increased project costs. Lithuania proposed that the money be administered by the CPMA.

However, the Commission said on 17 August that it did not back this idea and instead proposed that the money be administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which administers all Ignalina closure funds.

The 55 million euros would increase the price of the B/2/3/4 project by 45 percent to 179 million euros.

According to information available to BNS, in addition to the 55 million euros, the letter of intend signed by INPP and Nukem in late May provides for another 17.9 million euros for possible project risks. The money would be used to cover potential unforeseen costs. However, the Commission has not mentioned this amount of money until now.

Nukem is carrying out two major decommissioning projects at the Ignalina plant: the 124-million-euro solid radioactive waste storage facility complex and an interim spent fuel storage facility, initially estimated to cost 193 million euros. The projects are running some three to four years behind schedule.

Nukem says that the spent storage facility project, known as B1, is 80 percent complete and the B2/3/4 project is 62 percent complete.

BNS
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