Adamkus interview to the Swedish SR. Updated – ’We will try to expand lifespan of the old Ignalina nuclear plant’
The main topic of the interview was a closure of the Iganalina Nuclear pant. However, the president stated that there are signs that the European Union may consider Lithuania’s request to extend operation of the Ignalina N-plant after year 2009, by which time the plant should have been closed.
As the BNS noted the President said that “I’ve heard very encouraging first signals that they (EU – BNS) are considering reviewing some clauses. (…) Probably in the interest of Lithuania’s request, should it be submitted. (…) We can at the least start a dialogue”,.
The Lithuanian President said he sees no reasons why governments of other Baltic Sea region countries wouldn’t back Lithuania’s wish to extend the operation of the Ignalina N-plant. In the opinion of Adamkus, such actions would be egoistic and illogical.
Furthermore, Adamkus emphasized that the period between year 2009 and the time when the new N-plant – still in planning stage – would begin operations, would be of detriment to the development of Lithuania and the entire region and would further digress the country from European economic standards.
After the closing of the Ignalina N-plant, Lithuania would be at a shortage of 1.4 b kilowatt electrical power per year.
However, as the BNS informed the President notes that should Brussels decide against the extended operation of the Ignalina N-plant after all, Lithuania would apply its international undertakings. Lithuania committed to closing the Ignalina N-plant, which contains a Russian RBMK type reactor – deemed unsafe in the West – after its accession to the European Union (EU).
When talking about Lithuania’s joint plans with Latvia, Estonia and Poland to build a new power plant, Adamkus admitted that the process has been delayed; however didn’t agree that these intentions are only talks. The president noted that constructive preparation works are underway.
When asked whether the larger EU countries provide enough support to Lithuania in its relations with Russia pertinent to energy supply, Adamkus said he believes that there is enough support and understanding on Lithuania’s position.
Lithuania, just as its neighbours Latvia and Estonia, is referred to as the European Union (EU) “energy isle”, because it is entirely dependent on resource supply from Russia, and projects of links with the energy systems of Western Europe are still in the stage of discussions and negotiations.
The President also noted that his French colleague Nicolas Sarkozy is planning to visit Lithuania in the period of the next two months.
The French president was invited to visit the Vilnius Conference on Energy Security, which took place last Oct., however Sarkozy went to meet with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at that time instead. Asked to give his reaction to this Mr. President ironically noted that he could not compete with the Russian President. He asked the journalist ‘If you got an invitation for an interview from Mr Putin and myself at the same time I would not doubt that you would chose to go to Moscow. Lets be practical about it’.