Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis believes that Sweden's decision to phase out nuclear power would act as a stimulus for Lithuania's new nuclear power project, which has stalled with officials saying that they are consulting with Latvia and Estonia, the potential regional partners, and with Japan's Hitachi.
Rokas Masiulis
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

"One of such major stimuli for this project might come from Sweden's decision on its nuclear future. If the Swedes follow the suit of the Germans, who have decided to phase out nuclear power, then Sweden might become an attractive export market for us. Therefore Sweden's decision on its future will be very important," he said at a meeting with the Lithuanian Industrialists' Confederation on Tuesday.

Masiulis said that talks between the Baltic countries on the Visaginas project were proceeding too slowly.

Ando Leppiman, deputy secretary general for energy at the Estonian Economics Ministry, told BNS in late January that Estonia's position regarding the project remained unchanged: that is, investing in the project is not economically reasonable at the moment.

During a meting of the Baltic prime ministers in Tallinn last December, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius pledged to step up negotiations with Hitachi and the Latvian and Estonian partners over the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Visaginas, in eastern Lithuania.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said after a meeting with Hitachi CEO Hiroaki Nakanishi in Davos in January that the Japanese corporation remained interested in taking part in the Visaginas project and investing in other economic sectors.

Lithuanian Deputy Energy Minister Aleksandras Spruogis said in late January that the Baltic countries still had no final answer to the question of whether the Visaginas project would be competitive, but added that the partners continued to show interest in it.

The Lithuanian government in the summer of 2011 chose Hitachi as a strategic investor in a new nuclear power plant, but Lithuanian voters did not back the project in a non-binding referendum held a year later.

Renewing energy strategy

The Ministry of Energy intends to renew the energy sector's strategy.

"The Ministry of Energy would like to renew the energy strategy because of a number of important projects that will have been fulfilled. We have completed the Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal project, we will soon finish constructing links with Sweden and Poland. We would like to evaluate plans, assess the potential of renewable energy," Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis said at the meeting of the Presidium of the Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists.

According to the minister, currently tendering conditions for a creator of the strategy are being prepared. The conditions should be announced and the selection process should be completed already this year. The strategy should be submitted for Parliament's approval in autumn.

BNS
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