Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Lithuania should build new nuclear power plant: President

Xinhua - English

RIGA, Oct. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus said Tuesday that his country should remain a country with nuclear energy and build a new nuclear power plant as soon as possible, said reports from Vilnius , capital of Lithuania.

Wrangling over the shutdown of the Ignalina nuclear power plant,located 130 km northeast of Vilnius, should come to an end, Adamkus said in an interview with local media.

He said Lithuania has never signed documents on giving up its status as a country with nuclear energy, adding that his country should consider the construction of a third nuclear reactor to retain independent power supply.

A report released by the Lithuanian parliament said the closureof Ignalina nuclear power plant will cost 41.5 billion litas (14.6billion US dollars).

Experts feared that due to the huge cost, the Baltic country may be unable to meet its commitment to shutting down the plant completely.

Earlier, the parliament ruled against a draft on postponing theclosure of the No.2 reactor at the Ignalina nuclear plant.

The Ignalina plant, which provides 80 percent of Lithuania's electricity, was designed and built by the former Soviet Union and is the Baltic nation's only nuclear plant.

The first reactor started to operate on Dec. 31, 1983, and the second was launched in May 1987.

In June 2002, Lithuania and the European Union (EU) reached an agreement in Luxembourg on the closure of the plant. Under the agreement, Lithuania had to shut down the first reactor before 2005 and the second before 2009.

The EU will provide some funding for the closure, while the Lithuanian government has also raised about 814 million dollars.

On Dec. 31, 2004, the first reactor was closed completely after 21 years of operation.

The closure of the Ignalina nuclear power plant will have a huge impact on the power supply of Lithuania and its neighboring countries.


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