Lithuania seeks talks over Ignalina closure

30 January 2006

Lithuanian economy minister Kestutis Dauksys has publicly called for talks with the European Union (EU) on delaying the closure of unit 2 at the Ignalina nuclear power plant.

After declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, Lithuania took responsibility for the Ignalina plant and its two 1300MWe RBMK units. But now, in order to acceed to the EU, Lithuania must shutdown both units, the design of which is not considered safe enough for the bloc. Ignalina unit 1 was permanently shutdown in December 2004.

Dauksys said the government wanted to extend Ignalina 2's operation beyond 2009 – the date by which the unit is to close under the country's EU accession agreement – whilst deciding whether to build a new nuclear plant, although he admitted the likelihood of the EU agreeing was “not large.”

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