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Lithuania's future Prime Minister says Visaginas NPP is unrealistic project

Algirdas Butkevičius
Juliaus Kalinsko / 15min nuotr. / Algirdas Butkevičius
Šaltinis: BNS
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Lithuanian Prime Minister-designate Algirdas Butkevicius said on Wednesday that Visaginas nuclear power plant was an unrealistic project, but did not give a direct answer when asked if the new government would suspend the project.

"This project is an unrealistic project. The neighboring countries have acknowledged this as well. This is our opinion at the moment, but we will continue to speak about and analyze it," he told reporters after a meeting with top officials of the Lithuanian Industrialists' Confederation.

When asked if the coalition partners had already taken the decision to halt the Visaginas project, the Social Democratic leader said, "There were no decisions made today."

Meanwhile, Birutė Vėsaitė, the Social Democratic candidate for the economy minister, said in her presentation during a meeting with the industrialists on Tuesday that for a small country like Lithuania, Visaginas NPP was too costly and too risky a project and that energy independence was as important as economic independence. She added that there were no guarantees that regional partners would participate in the project.

"A consultative referendum was held for the first time in Lithuania's history on 14 October. Some 52.58 percent of Lithuanian voters turned out and 62.8 percent of those who cast their ballots said 'no' to the construction of Visaginas nuclear power plant. The (would-be) 16th government, taking into consideration the will of the citizens, decided to discontinue this project," Vėsaitė said in the presentation.

A draft government program says that "the 16th government, implementing the will of the citizens, will not continue this project."

The draft program, among other things, calls for expanding the total capacity of Kruonis Pumped Storage Plant to 1,600 megawatts.

Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said during his visit to Lithuania on Wednesday that his country was disappointed with Lithuania changing its position regarding Visaginas NPP. He said Estonia had wasted six and a half years on the project and that it was unclear if the project would be further developed.

Commenting on the Estonian President's words, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that the differing positions on the nuclear power plant project were doing no good to the country's image.

BNS
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