Visaginas nuclear project shelved says Lithuanian official

By bne IntelliNews January 20, 2016

The Visaginas nuclear power plant project has been shelved due to a weak power market, a Lithuanian official announced on January 20.

Lithuania has been trying over the last couple of years to revive the plan to build a pan-Baltic plant to replace the decommissioned Soviet-era installation Ignalina. Like all other pan-Baltic projects, however, it has been plagued by poor cooperation.

The delay may also be linked to the Lithuanian election scheduled for October. It has become something of a tradition for new governments in Vilnius to scrap the nuclear projects of their predecessors, only to come up with a similar scheme months after taking office. The current Social Democrat administration even managed to get a referendum on the €7bn project promoted by previous centre-right coalition headed by Andrius Kubilius attached to the 2012 election ballot.

That project was also plagued by bickering with Latvia and Estonia. None of the Baltic states arebig enough to make a nuclear plant commercially viable alone, but the trio have struggled to agree on a project, despite growing concern over their reliance on Russian power imports, and isolation from EU grids.

Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiunius claims, however, that it is market conditions and infrastructure issues that led him to announce the shelving of the project for an estimated 6-12 months.

"We've halted the Visaginas plant project for some time because the market situation is not that favourable," he said, according to The Baltic Course. "[We are also waiting] for our electricity interconnections in Lithuania with Poland and Sweden to start working normally and prices on the electricity market to fall into place and become more stable."

However, Masiunis also reportedly hints that Estonia is not as interested in participating as Lithuania. Vilnius has sent Tallinn the cost and feasibility analysis of the power plant but is waiting for a response.

The delay could put the Baltic states in a difficult position. They face an expected surge in electricity demand, which is forecast to reach 29bn-33bn kWh/year, by 2020. Without a large new power plant, no more than two thirds of demand will be covered by current capacity in the region, according to the World Nuclear Association.

In efforts to address the issue individually, the Baltic states have worked out some solutions, such as Lithuania’s grid connections to Poland and Sweden. However, the Baltic trio is also rolling out a campaign to block the EU’s imports of electricity from planned nuclear power plants in Russia’s Kaliningrad region and in Belarus.

Related Articles

Latvia issues permits to new gas infrastructure holding

The Latvian Public Utilities Commission (SPRK) announced on January 5 that it has issued licences to Conexus Baltic Grid for the transmission and storage of gas. Conexus Baltic Grid will control ... more

Latvijas Gaze agrees to set up spin-off company to operate gas grid and storage

A shareholders' meeting at Latvijas Gaze (LG) decided on December 22 to set up a company that will be used to spin off the country's gas pipelines and storage facilities. The creation of Conexus ... more

Latvia fines Swedbank for failings in anti money laundering measures

The Latvian branch of the Swedish banking group Swedbank said on November 23 it will implement measures to curb money laundering. The pledge follows an audit and a fine of €1.36mn from the ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss