Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis has admitted that talks with Latvia and Estonia on the multi-billion-euro project for building a new nuclear power plant in Visaginas are proceeding too slowly and called for patience, saying that it will take more than a year until a final decision on the project is made.
Rokas Masiulis
© DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

"We must be patient. We are not happy with the process that is taking place. It is too slow. But we have our partners and the partners have their own pace. Latvia had elections this year and Estonia will have elections next year. We have to be patient, because the project is serious and big," he told LNK TV news programme.

Masiulis could not say how long it might take for the Baltic countries to complete the talks and decide whether or not to build a new nuclear power plant.

"It is difficult for me to say. We can see that with several countries involved, the process is complex. I cannot say how much time this might take, but this is definitely not a matter of one year," he said.

The minister said that the project had made some headway and the talks had reached a new level.

"The format and the level we are at now have never been achieved before. The process is really a lengthy one. We understand how complex it is. Thus, the maturity we have now achieved leads us to expect that we will answer these questions and will reach agreement," he said.

Masiulis said that meetings not only with the Baltic countries, but also with Japan's Hitachi, had been held on a regular basis.

"The Japanese are cooperating. We constantly meet with them. It (the project) has been improved significantly from what it was earlier. The project's electricity generation cost has declined to 19 Lithuanian centas (EUR 0.055), from 21 centas previously. We are thus moving closer, little by little, toward a competitive threshold," he said.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said last December he would step up negotiations with Hitachi and the Latvian and Estonian partners over the construction of a new nuclear power plant.

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