Lithuania is to persuade the European Union (EU) to allow it to continue to operate the Ignalina nuclear power plant to avoid electricity shortages, President Valdas Adamkus said on Tuesday, according to reports from Vilnius, capital of Lithuania.
The Ignalina plant is scheduled to close for safety reasons at the end of 2009, as required by the EU, but the new nuclear power plant is expected to finish its construction no earlier than 2012.The Baltic countries are likely to face an electricity shortage during 2010-2012, said the president during an interview with local radio.
Lithuania will persuade the EU to extend the Ignalina's operation when necessary to avoid such a shortage and protect the national economy, he said.
When asked about EU criticism of the move, Adamkus said that as an EU member Lithuania should observe the EU articles, but things will change when its economy is damaged by doing so.
The planned new plant is to be funded by Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Poland. Adamkus called on all parties concerned to take concrete actions to reach an agreement on the details as soon as possible.
Built in the 1980s, the Ignalina plant, which has the same type of reactor as caused the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, is the only nuclear power plant in the Baltic region.