Milda Aleknonytė| The Lithuania Tribune
Today, 12 July, marks the end of a three-day visit of the Committee on Budgetary Control delegation to Lithuania. The delegation’s main goal was to analyze the decommissioning process of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP), how the main projects are being implemented and how EU funds are being used for this purpose. The delegation’s conclusions, which will be presented on the 12th of July will have an influence on the European Parliament’s decision on whether or not and how much financial support will be provided for the plant’s decommissioning in the 2014-2020 period. Lithuania is asking for 770 million Euros while the European Commission planned to provide 210 million euros. Up to 2013 the EU has appointed 1,37 billion EUR for decommissioning the INPP.
In the few day visit, MEP Michael Theurer, head of the delegation, met with the head of the INPP, representatives of „Nukem“, the Minister of Energy, Advisor of the Prime Minister, responsible for the negotiations with the European Commission regarding INPP funding, the Chancellor of the Prime Minister, State Controller, the Ministry of Finance, Seimas and other representatives from state institutions.
The delegation has noticed some ineffective use of EU funds and long overdue deadlines in the project of closing down the INPP. As Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius pointed out: “Previous studies have shown that some signed contracts were not very rational, perhaps the management system is not very rational, we therefore came across problems when negotiating with contractors.”
The bottlenecks of the INPP decommissioning project are the nuclear fuel storage project B1 and highly radioactive waste repository B2, B3 and B4. Based on the INPP website, project B1 is 44 months late, project B2 is 57 months late and projects B3 and B4 are 47 months past their deadline. B1 now costs 193,5 million EUR, although the project’s initial cost was expected to be 92,7 million. The costs increased because an additional 150 containers had to be bought (74,2 million EUR), the contractor demanded 26,4 million EUR for unforeseen expenses, additional manpower needed an additional 6 million EUR and the contractor had other claims. The other projects’ expenses increased by about 4 million EUR due to transfer and design changes.
While the closing of the INPP was one of Lithuania’s conditions on joining the EU, the EU promised to provide adequate funding for shutting down and decommissioning the plant. Mr. Kubilius is worried “what will happen if the European Union will have no opportunities or resources to provide adequate funding?”. Luckily, it is in both parties’ interests to negotiate a safe solution.