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Published: 28 march 2012 14:39

Lithuania's talks on concession agreement with Hitachi almost complete

Visagino atominė elektrinė
VAE vizualizacija / Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant site

The government is finalizing talks with Hitachi and intends to initial a concession agreement with the Japanese company at the end of this week, and on Thursday the Cabinet may convene for an extraordinary meeting to adopt the required decisions, Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said at the government’s meeting on Wednesday.

“The talks are actually complete and we are ready to initial the agreement,” Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas said at the meeting.

The government established on Wednesday that the agreement would be signed by July by the government, a newly-established project company that will hold the concession and the strategic investor.

Japan’s Hitachi will be able to participate in the project company. Latvia’s Latvenergo and Estonia’s Eesti Energia, and, possibly, other investors, are expected to take stakes in the company at a later stage.

Lithuania will assume obligations directly under the concession agreement, rather than under other related agreements, the government resolution says.

The decision is aimed at putting in place a regulatory framework to ensure that the concession agreement on the design, construction, operation and closure of the new plant is properly concluded and creating the legal preconditions for a quick and efficient implementation of the project, it says.

Moreover, the Finance Ministry will provide conclusions on the distribution of risks between the state and the project company and on the state’s possibilities to bear the costs.

The concession agreement is planned to be signed by July.

Sekmokas said on Monday that negotiations with Hitachi on the concession agreement were planned to be completed this week. He said that the designing of a new nuclear power plant would take about two years and a half and that a final investment decision would be made by the end of March 2015. Agreements with Latvia and Estonia, as well as with other potential partners, have to be reached by that time.

Once initialed, the concession agreement will be submitted to the government and then to the Seimas (parliament) for approval, and, if approved, will be signed.

Lithuania will probably own at least 34 percent of shares in the new nuclear facility. Negotiations are ongoing on what stakes the regional partners and the strategic investor will hold in the plant.

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