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Lithuania Proposes Application of Compensation Mechanisms For Decommissioning of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant


Lithuania has proposed to take into consideration its exceptional situation and apply compensation mechanisms during the transitional period in case of decommissioning of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. The proposal was made by the head of the Lithuanian delegation, Environment Ministry Undersecretary Aleksandras Spruogis, during the meeting of the European Union’s Environment Council in Luxemburg earlier this week.

In the discussion of draft EU legal acts on climate change and energy, particularly the amendment to the direction on the system of trade in greenhouse gases and determination of goals of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Lithuania suggested to take account of national circumstances of countries and needs of economic development, energy supplies and security. As some of the proposed EU provisions in this respect may lead to economic and social problems to our country, Lithuania once again drew the attention of other participating states to its peculiar energy, social and economic situation that may emerge after the Ignalina closure. The nuclear power plant currently generates about 70 per cent of electricity needed by the country. In case of decommissioning of Ignalina, thermo-electrical power stations will have to increase they energy output and will use more extracted fuel. This alone will lead to increase in emissions of greenhouse gases in the country from 5 to 7 million tonnes, as compared with 2005.

The construction process of a new nuclear facility has already been started, however, the power plant will only be launched in 2017-2018. By drawing the EU attention to the circumstances, Aleksandras Spruogis said, Lithuania aims to secure application of compensation mechanisms during nearly a decade of transition after decommissioning of the old nuclear power plant and the opening of a new facility. As one of the mechanisms, our country proposes allocation of additional free and inalienable pollution permits to thermo-electric power stations, which would have to raise their electricity output. Furthermore, Lithuania is ready to start discussions with the European Commission and EU member-states regarding other possible ways of compensation.

At an informal face-to-face meeting with the head of the Lithuanian delegation, Environment Minister of Sweden Andreas Carlgren expressed interest in the matter and a need to make a political decision. Aleksandras Spruogis also discussed the problems to emerge before Lithuania in case of Ignalina closure with the EU’s Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. The commissioner pledged to organise a meeting for a more thorough discussion of these problems.

During the meeting of the EU Environment Council in Luxemburg, countries exchanged opinions regarding further steps in the field of genetically-modified organisms (GMO). EU member-states have different attitudes and practices on this matter. Our country believes that the data of long-term effects of GMO to the environment and human health is insufficient, therefore, long-term advantages may only be assessed following an in-depth risk analysis based on scientific conclusions. In Lithuania’s opinion, the EU should take measures that would allow better risk management. This includes thorough information about assessment of GMO risks, improvement of scientific analysis procedures and determination of GMO seed labelling margins on the EU level. Therefore, it is vital to pay as much attention as possible to GMO scientific research, culture of use and control procedures, stressed Aleksandras Spruogis.

Public Information Division, Tel. 266 3660

09 June 2008

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas