Ignalina NPP’s closure may be postponed

Publish date: May 9, 2005

Lithuania could have continued operation of the Ignalina nuclear power plant.

The decision to close it has been taken under pressure from the West, said former Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov, who is in the Swiss prison now. He was addressing the sitting of the Ignalina commission in the Lithuanian parliament (Seim) on April 13, RIA-Novosti reported.

He said that both power units of the Ignalina plant are as safe as similar reactors of the same age in the West Europe and are designed for 45 years service life. The first unit of the Ignalina nuclear power plant, started up in 1983, has lifetime until 2029 and the second unit until 2031, Adamov said. He noted that all the investigation and design data shows that no grounds exist for closing the Ignalina facility and it is "a purely political decision".

Lithuania shut down the first Ignalina reactor (“Chernobyl” type) on December 31, 2004, and pledged to put the entire plant out of service by December 31, 2009. This was one of the principal conditions for Lithuania’s entering the European Union in May 2004. The government of Lithuania has estimated the Ignalina closure at three billion euros (including expenses on the social sector).

Last March Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas said that, "closure of the second power unit of the Ignalina plant by 2010 would be possible only if Lithuania joins the West European energy system".