Seimas passes nuclear bill

The Baltic Times
February 4, 2008
In cooperation with BNS

VILNIUS – The construction of a new nuclear power plant at Ignalina has moved one stage closer after the LithuanianSeimas passed legislation Feb. 2 which should smooth the way for an agreement between the government and privately owned NDX Energija regarding the creation of a new ‘national investor’ company, Leo LT.

The company will be responsible for the contruction of the new nuclear facility, plus power links to Poland and Sweden.

63 MPs voted in favor of the amendments, 11 voted against and three abstained. The vote was boycotted by opposition parties who claim the legislation has been rushed through without due process and stands to make a few leading businessmen extremely rich.

Only a presidential veto can now prevent the legislation coming into force, but given President Valdaas Adamkus’ own enthusiasm for the plan, this seems a folorn hope for the opposition.

Nevertheless, Conservative Party leader Andrius Kubilius is calling on Adamkus to veto the legislation when it passes across his desk.

“The negotiations were not transparent, and the government has failed in defending public interest,” Kubilius said in a Feb. 4 press conference.

He added that the bill is flawed and was passed without presenting detailed costs of both construction and the energy that the new plant will produce.

According to the bill, the government will control 61.7 percent of Leo NT with NDX Energija controlling the remaining 38.3 percent.

The new company would incorporate the shares of state-owned Lietuvos Energija and distribution grid operator Rytu Skirstomieji Tinklai (RST) as well as Vakaru Skirstomieji Tinklai (VST), owned by NDX Energy, instantly creating one of the largest commercial concerns in the Baltic states.

The timing of the Seimas vote came as a welcome coincidence for President Adamkus, who met with his Polish counterpart Lech Kaczynski on the day the bill was approved, with energy topping the informal agenda discussed by the two men.

Next up to the plate are the region’s Economy Ministers, meeting in Vilnius Feb. 4 to discuss their proposed roles in the Ignalina project.