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2013 01 04

Lithuanian Prime Minister promises to inform Latvians about further Visaginas NPP plans by March

Speaking ahead of next week's visit to Latvia, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said on Friday that Lithuania's new government would make its position on a nuclear power plant known to regional partners in March.
Visagino AE mobilusis informacinis centras
Visagino AE mobilusis informacinis centras / Aliaus Koroliovo nuotr.

"Latvia will be told that the new government is currently familiarizing itself with the situation in the energy sector, and a working group is being formed to supervise Lithuania's energy independence strategy; and an answer will be given in about two months' time as to what option or model Lithuania is going to choose," he told reporters.

Butkevičius' Social Democratic Party has criticized the previous center-right government's plans of building a new 1,350-megawatt nuclear power plant by 2020 to 2022 together with Baltic energy companies and Japan's Hitachi.

The majority of Lithuanian voters did not back the project in a non-binding referendum that was held in tandem with general elections on 14 October. Only 34.09 percent voted "yes" to building a nuclear power plant and 62.68 percent said "no". The voter turnout was 52.58 percent.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said in an interview last month that people "were deceived" during the October referendum because "there was no information and plenty of propaganda of lobbyist interests."

Butkevičius said that he would not comment on the president's statement, but added that he respected the results of the referendum. "The results of the referendum, in our opinion, are legitimate, and no one can question them," he said.

Butkevičius is scheduled to go to Latvia on Thursday, 10 January, for his first foreign visit since he took office as prime minister last month.

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