Risks to the construction of Lithuania’s new nuclear plant, where Latvia and Estonia are due to become partners, have increased “significantly” after voters rejected the idea in a referendum last weekend, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said.
The results of Lithuania’s consultative referendum on Oct. 14, where more than 60 percent of voters rejected the reactor, may “add arguments” for Estonia to commission a second oil shale-fired power unit from Alstom SA (ALO), Ansip said in parliament in Tallinn late yesterday. The option was reserved under the contract signed in January, 2011.
Lithuania seeks to build a new nuclear reactor in co- operation with its Baltic neighbors as it imports about 70 percent of electricity following the closure of the Soviet-built Ignalina reactor in 2009 as a condition to join the European Union. Visagino Atomine Elektrine UAB, the project developer, said yesterday it will continue preparation works.
“We need to cover about 300 megawatt of electricity demand from some other resources, new resources,” Ansip said. “We have planned to participate in the new Visaginas nuclear plant and we would like to get a stake of 300 megawatt from there and we hope this project will still be implemented, even though considering Lithuania’s referendum, the risks associated with the project have significantly increased.”
Alstom is due to complete a 640 million-euro ($838 million), 300-megawatt plant in Auvere, northeastern Estonia, by the end of 2015, according to state-owned AS Eesti Energia. Estonia needs to decide on the option of building a second unit during the first half of next year, Ansip said yesterday.
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