Lithuania Picks Firms for Nuclear Study

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania's national power company on Monday selected a Finnish-Lithuanian team to conduct a crucial environmental impact study for the construction of a new nuclear power plant.

The utility, Lietuvos Energija, announced that it signed a contract with Finland's Poyry Energy Oy and the Lithuanian Energy Institute to carry out the assessment, which will cost some euro1.3 million (US$2 million) and require six months to complete.

The study is crucial in that it will ultimately determine not only the size and type of reactors that Lithuania _ one of the world's most nuclear energy dependent states can build, but whether the project is feasible at all.

Lithuania agreed to shut down its two Soviet-type reactors in order to join the European Union, which it did in 2004. The Baltic state closed the first reactor in 2004 and will close the second at the end of 2009.

However, the country's leaders have hinted in recent months that they would like an extension on closing the second reactor in order to soften the impact of suddenly becoming an electricity importer. Lithuania is currently not part of the EU electricity grid but remains hooked up with Russia's.

© 2008 The Associated Press

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