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Lithuanian and Latvian presidents restate support for Visaginas nuclear plant

Latvijos prezidentas Andris Bėrzinis susitiko su Lietuvos prezidente Dalia Grybauskaite
nuotr. / Latvia's Andris Bėrzinis and Lithuania's Dalia Grybauskaite
Šaltinis: BNS

Economies of the Baltic states will benefit from Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) project, Lithuanian and Latvian presidents said after discussing the project on Thursday.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said the N-plant project would stimulate the regional economic development for decades.

"The Visaginas project will stimulate the economic development of the region – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – for decades. The project will reach a cycle of about 60 years. Therefore, we would together secure a great impulse to develop our economies, states and well-being for our people," Grybauskaitė said at a press conference.

She emphasized that nuclear energy was one of the safest ways of electricity production, adding that details were yet to be discussed by energy companies.

Her opinion was seconded by Latvian President Andris Berzins, saying that the information available to his country's energy company Latvenergo demonstrates benefits for Latvia.

"According to the information, which we currently have, this project is commercially viable and good for Latvia," the Latvian leader said.

Lithuania hopes that the new nuclear utility in Visaginas will be operational by 2020. Lithuanian government expects to sign a concession contract with Japan's company Hitachi in the coming months, while energy companies of the three countries intend to decide on investment later.

Regional LNG terminal

On another energy issue, Grybauskaitė stated that Lithuania would support a regional liquefied natural gas terminal in Riga, if it gets a positive assessment from EU experts.

"We are aware of tests being carried out by EU experts into the possibility of having a regional liquefied gas terminal. If a recommendation for a regional liquefied gas terminal is made, Lithuania will certainly back the construction of the terminal in the region," she told journalists after meeting with her Latvian counterpart, Andris Berzins.

At the same time, Grybauskaitė said she informed the Latvian leader about the progress of Lithuania's construction of a separate liquefied gas terminal in Klaipėda. A law in connection to the terminal should be adopted at the national parliament shortly.

Lithuania expects to finish a gas terminal in Klaipėda by the end of 2014 to provide an alternative to the gas supplied by Russia's gas giant Gazprom.

Latvia has long been urging its Baltic neighbors to build a terminal in Riga together and seek EU assistance for the scheme as a regional project. EU experts are currently evaluating benefits of the project.

Grybauskaitė said on Thursday that Incukalns gas storage facility in Latvia was a good example of regional cooperation, saying she would visit the site during her upcoming state visit in the neighboring state.

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