A Standoff Over Aging Nukes...Has A Lot Of Workers Shook Up

Viktoras Valentukevicius is a man in the middle. As vice-minister in Lithuania's Economy Ministry, Valentukevicius is charged with overseeing the Baltic country's energy sector, which means keeping the world's two biggest Chernobyl-type nuclear reactors running at Ignalina, in a rural area of the southeast. But if he does his job, Valentukevicius knows that Lithuania will be shut out of European Union membership. "We have to comprehend the uneasiness of the European countries about nuclear safety, because they know the consequences of the Chernobyl accident," he says. "If the reactors are unsafe, we will shut them down." He adds that research into how long they can continue to operate safely won't be complete for a few years.

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