VILNIUS. Feb 25 (Interfax/BNS) - Russia's state nuclear power corporation Rosatom is interested in playing a role in a project involving the expansion of the Kuronis hydroelectric pumped-storage power station (HPSPS) with the aim of providing reserve capacity for the nuclear power plant being built in Kaliningrad Region, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius told the Baltic News Service.
The head of the Lithuanian government said he is not planning to meet with Rosatom chief Sergei Kirienko on this subject, but has received the proposal from Russia.
CJSC Rusatom Overseas, which promotes Rosatom business abroad, took part February 22 in a meeting Butkevicius had with representatives of the company Nukem, controlled by CJSC Atomstroyexport, which is working on the shut-down of the Igalina nuclear power plant.
"At the meeting it was explained that Rosatom, together with Nukem, are participating in common business, and we have already learned that they [Rosatom] as shareholders have provided Nukem with a credit of almost seventy million, be they litas, or euros, or dollars they invested," Butkevicius said in comments on the meeting.
"At the discussion they said that they are taking part with their own funds and crediting this project, and want to resolve these problems [involved in Nukem closing down the Igalina nuclear plant], the problems of daily losses. There was no discussion, they simply said that [they are] extremely interested in the Kuronis HPSPS in order to put together energy reserves. We had virtually no time to talk about the new nuclear power plant project in Lithuania," he said.
Lithuanian Parliamentary Speaker Vydas Gedvilas said on TV3 television that during his meeting with Rosatom representatives in mid-February the latter announced readiness to discuss a company role in the project.
"Scientists have to present their view on the new nuclear power plant, what its price will be, since the premiers of Latvia and Estonia are requesting it. And I have to present all this information not to anyone else, but the premiers of Latvia and Estonia. We find ourselves in the European bloc and are torn that to invite capital from outside would be strange," Butkevicius said.
Asked by which his phrase "should not be torn" the company meant Russian capital, the prime minister responded, "Yes."
"I want to say clearly that we have to finish with the Third Energy Package in 2014, at the same time having to complete the liquefied natural gas terminal. These are our main goals, and we should not be torn over seeking something," he said.
Asked if there is a possibility for Lithuania to consider taking part in joint projects with Rosatom, Butkevicius noted that his country is a member of the European Union and NATO and is striving for integration into the European market.
"Especially important are linkages with Sweden, Poland. With Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk we have agreed to sign a general document, an appeal to the European Commission on the subject of gas linkage between Lithuania and Poldan so as to receive separate financing - these are our goals," Butkevicius said.,
Russia has more than once suggested that Lithuania join the building of the Kaliningrad nuclear power plant, but these proposals have been turned down.
The previous conservative government planned to build a new nuclear power plant in cooperation with Hitachi, but the social democrats in power said they would not back the project until it was completely clear that it would pay for itself.
At present, the Kuronis HPSPS provides 93.6% of all the necessary emergency reserves of the Lithuanian power system. The project for expanding the station involves the building of a fifth hydroelectric unit with capacity of 250 mWt, which would increase generating capacity to 1,600 mWt.
The shut-down at the end of 2009 of the Igalina nuclear power plant could cost nearly LTL 10 billion (around EUR 3 billion). Nukem is carrying out two projects for the plant's closure: equipping it to store hard radioactive waste with a starting price of EUR 123 million and building temporary storage for used nuclear fuel with a starting price of EUR 193 million.
The Lithuanian litas is pegged to the euro at LTL 3.4528/EUR1.
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