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Published: 6 march 2012 14:49

Lithuania working towards concession deal with Hitachi

Andrius Kubilius „Hitachi Works“ gamykloje
lrv.lt nuotr. / Andrius Kubilius in „Hitachi Works“

The Lithuanian government and Japan's Hitachi may sign a concession agreement on the planned Visaginas new nuclear power plant in the near future, Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas said on Tuesday.

The three Baltic prime ministers will decide on further steps in the Visaginas project during their informal meeting in Lithuania on Wednesday and Thursday, he said.

"I think that this week's meeting of the Baltic Council of Ministers is very important. These issues will be discussed by the Baltic prime ministers and decisions on further steps will be taken, at last, at the prime ministers' level," Sekmokas told reporters.

Asked if the concession agreement could be initiated during the meeting, the minister said, "I believe that things are moving in that direction. Perhaps some additional technical steps will be needed, but I don't want to speak in advance."

The government expects to submit the drafted concession agreement to the Seimas (parliament) for approval during its spring session, which is to starting on 10 March.

Prime Ministers Andrius Kubilius of Lithuania, Valdis Dombrovskis of Latvia and Andrus Ansip of Estonia, as well as  Peter Faross, Director General of the European Commission's Directorate General for Energy, and Hitachi officials, are expected to take part in the meeting.

In December, the Lithuanian government and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy signed a deal on the main terms of a concession agreement on the planned Visaginas nuclear power plant. Government representatives then said that those provisions would allow signing certain interim documents with Hitachi as the strategic investor and to continue work on drafting the concession agreement and other key documents, including a shareholders' agreement.

The Cabinet officials also said at that time that the government expected to draft the concession agreement early this year and to sign the document by the end of June. Moreover, the shareholders’ agreement between Lithuania's Visagino Atominė Elektrinė (Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant, or VAE), Latvenergo, Eesti Energia and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy would be signed when approved by the parliament (Seimas).

Hitachi President Hiroaki Nakanishi was quoted as saying in December that they expected to reach a basic agreement with the Lithuanian government on the new nuclear power plant by February, with a formal agreement likely to be concluded by summer.

Together with Latvia and Estonia and Hitachi as the strategic investor, Lithuania expects to build the new nuclear power plant in Visaginas by 2020.

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