Lithuania needs new nuclear plant, but not at any cost

December 13, 2007 at 4:31 pm 2 comments

Ignalina N plantLithuania needs a new atomic power station in order to prevent an economic crash in the next decade, as it faces an energy crunch after the planned shutdown of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) in late 2009, SEB Vilniaus Bankas analysts said.

As the BNS reported speculation about the closure of the second block of the Ignalina plant is still rife, but the chances that the country will continue to generate nuclear power after 2010 are diminishing, the analysts said in their latest Lithuanian Macroeconomic Review report.

“If we were left without nuclear energy, at the start of the next decade the Lithuanian energy system would be in a dramatic situation and would be fully dependent on Russia’s policies and its good will,” said Gitanas Nauseda, advisor to the president of SEB Vilniaus Bankas.

The analyst said that the planned power links with Poland and Sweden would not protect Lithuania from energy shortages.

“Based on realistic estimates, the construction of these energy connections may last until 2015. While demand for electricity worldwide and in neighboring countries is expected to increase, no supply surplus is predicted. Even in Russia, an absolute decrease in installed power plant capacity is anticipated in the coming years. Therefore, import does not seem to be a reliable source of electricity supply,” he said.

Experts point out that a nuclear power station would provide Lithuania with higher energy independence for at least 30 to 40 years.

SEB Vilniaus Bankas’ analysts said in the report that the main drawback of nuclear power plants is that they require huge initial investments.


Entry filed under: Baltic States, Economics, Energy, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Politics, Russia.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dr. S. Backaitis  |  December 14, 2007 at 6:21 am

    Accute energy shortage would have immeasurable consequences, and it would still have to be solved, unless the country is willing to go back to self-sufficient farm economy of the early XX century. Assuming that such a regression is not acceptable, building an atomic power plant is the only solution no matter what the capital cost is. Besides economic reasons, an atomic powerplant is absolutely necessay for poilitical inedependence.

  • 2. Ruslanas Iržikevičius  |  December 14, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Dear Dr. Backaitis,

    Thank you for your comment. Let me point out that I am absolutely agree that Lithuanian and the other Baltic countries need the New Nuclear Plant (NNP) to be built in Lithuania. However, the NNP should not be a goal on itself but should serve a purpose of making the Balts electricity-independent from Russia.

    I am not sure how often you visit this blog but the regular visitors should have noticed that there is less and less info on the NNP business on this blog. I have to admit, I am rather confused about the process myself.

    A huge public discussion takes place here at the moment about the methods that Kirkilas’ Gvnmt undertook to establish a so-called ‘National investor’ (NI). The way that Vilniaus Prekyba – VP (the owner of Maxima LT, LV and EE) got accepted into the NI calls in question the transparency of the Lithuanian participation in the building of the NNP. It appears that Lithuania is not ready yet for a Private and Public Partnership (PPP), which is widely accepted in the established Western democracies. However, the negotiations between the Gvnmt and the VP are still under its way and we are expecting some results before Christmas. Nevertheless, it seems to me that this ‘negotiation’ is a waste of time, since everything has been agreed already…

    I would like to hope that the PPP will prevail in Lithuania and that we will build the NNP not in order just to build it but also to become really energy independent.

    P.S. I’ve just heard Kirkilas speaking from the Brussels. He noted that after meeting with his colleagues from the other EU countries his ‘optimism’ for prolonging lifespan of the old Ignalina NNP has ‘increased’. Well well, I am not sure about that.


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