After the referendum on Visaginas nuclear power plant construction finished on a negative note, Estonia’s ambassador in Lithuania Toomas Kukk underlined, that Estonia’s outlook on nuclear energy is still pragmatic. In his view, the nuclear power plant can serve as an important alternative, which will let diversify energy sources and generate “friendly” electricity. At the same time, the head of the diplomatic mission notes, that Estonia will wait for the new Parliament’s and the Government’s decisions on this topic, alfa.lt reported on 22 October.
“We think that Visaginas nuclear power plant is an important project. Our prime minister expressed Estonia’s view on this topic in several meetings of heads of Baltic States. This could be a very good way to diversify the energy supply in our region,,” said T. Kukk, who began his work as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary in September.
On October 24, Estonia’s embassy, together with other partners, will invite specialists and diplomats from five countries to discuss the energy future of the Baltic states in a forum organized in Vilnius. The event will be joined by energy companies’ experts, diplomats, business community representatives from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, and Switzerland. During the conference, a lot of attention will be given to Visaginas NPP – presentations will be read by the director of “Visaginas nuclear power plant” Rimantas Vaitkus, “Hitachi” representative Takao Kurihara and others.
T. Kukk stresses, that the final decision regarding the participation of Estonia in the project will be made upon the completion of negotiations, after the participating company “Eesti Energia” will clarify all the conditions and the economical validity of the project. He also notes that before that, they are waiting for the political decisions from the new government in Lithuania:
“Just as for Lithuanians, the public opinion is very important to us. It is clear that public opinion about the project and nuclear energy in general must be taken into consideration. Now we have to wait for decisions regarding further actions from the new Lithuanian Parliament and Government,” said the diplomat.
According to the ambassador, concerns about the safety of nuclear energy are almost non-existent in Estonia. At the moment, there are two nuclear power plants active in the neighbouring Finland. One more is planned to be started in 2015.
“Finish nuclear plants have the highest safety standards. We are much more concerned about the situation in the town of Sosnovy Bor near St. Petersburg, which is just 80 kilometres away from Estonia’s border,“ said the diplomat. This town operates the Leningrad nuclear power plant, who’s four reactors are the same as the Chernobyl power plant’s. Currently there are two more reactors being built there, planned to be put into operation in 2013 and 2014.
The international forum on traditional and renewable energy “Energy market today, its prospects in Lithuania and Baltic States” will take place on October 24 in Vilnius. The conference is organized by Estonian Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania, advocacy firm VARUL and other partners. Its program can be read on www.energyforum.lt.
Translated by Darius Mikulėnas