Lithuania’s econmin rejects as untrue media reports that Poland will not join construction of new N-plant

January 3, 2008 at 11:48 pm Leave a comment

Ignalina N-PlantLithuania’s Economy Minister Vytas Navickas has dismissed as untrue the reports of Polish press that the Polish government may decide against taking part in the construction of new nuclear power plant in Lithuania.
“I think that information is untrue since I met with new Polish economy minister in Brussels on December 3, and there were no indications that Poland might pull out of the nuclear power plant project,” Navickas said in an interview to the public radio Lietuvos Radijas.

Moreover, no doubts concerning the project had been voiced at the meeting of presidents of the two countries held on the occasion of joining of the Schengen Area, he added.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal Polska has reported that the Polish government, which took power two months ago, is pulling back from its predecessor’s plans to build a nuclear reactor by 2025 and may not take part in a project to build an atomic plant in Lithuania.

It should not come as a surprise to the minister Navickas, since the Poles did not show a huge enthusiasm to join the project after all.  First of all they were not too sure about the Lietuvos Energija Company and its business and personal links to Russia.  Furthermore, they sent few displeased signals when it became clear the Lithuanian Government approved a participation in the project of the private capital Vilnius Prekyba Group.  After creation of LEO LT, the VPG will also have its say in the negotiations.

Second of all the Poles linked the long waited electrical grid from Lithuania to Poland to the building of the Plant.  Even more diplomatic new PM Tusk repeated the Polish demands for the Lithuanians that the new plant must provide Poland from 1000 to 1.200 KW of electricity.  Otherwise, Warsaw would not be interested in joining.  However, since the new plant is going to be situated next to a medium size lake the water-cooling capacity of it could be only 2.000 or 2.000 KW.  Even though the study is still under way the capacity of the plant should not increase dramatically.  Hence, if the Poles will get their 1.200 MW what would be left for other partners in arms, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia?  Not much.

Further more, the electricity network in Poland needs to be modernised.

The Poles did not hide that one of the reasons in participating in the project was to get some experience in building nuclear plants in future.  However, it seems that an energy strategy prepared by the new Polish government would recommend using the vast Polish coal reserves in the future.  Therefore, the experience is not needed there.

It was a mistake to invite Poland in the first place.  It looks that the President Kazcinski accepted the Lithuanian proposal just to be nice to the only friend in the EU at that time President Adamkus.

The news that Poland might opt out from the project would be met with rejoice in Latvia and Estonia, since those countries, rightly were rather sceptical about the Polish participation, to put it mildly.

On the other hand, this information from Warsaw could be another tactical move from the Polish negotiators, just to press Lithuanians even more to accept new demands.  However, it might be as well the news, which is ‘leaked’ in order to send Vilnius the message that we are planning to opt out of the project.  Lets wait and see. 

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

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