Lithuania's prime minister says ending support in 2020 could delay the full closure of its Ignalina plant.
Leaders of the European Union's member states are expected at their summit next week (7-8 February) to agree to cover roughly half the costs of decommissioning Soviet-era nuclear power plants, as part of a deal on the EU's long-term budget.
However, Lithuania's Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius told European Voice yesterday (30 January) that he also wants the EU to leave open the possibility of support in subsequent budgets. Lithuania argues that ending support in 2020 could delay the full closure of its Ignalina plant beyond 2030, the current target date.
At their budget summit in November, EU leaders provisionally agreed that the EU's relative contribution to the dismantling and decontaminating of Ignalina, as well as the Bohunice plant in Slovakia, should not be cut back as much as the pre-budget proposal envisaged.
During that summit, the amount proposed for Bohunice was raised from €105 million to €200m, while proposed support for Ignalina was increased from €210m to €400m. The figure for Kozloduy was raised from €185m to €260m.
Butkevicius, who came to office in December, wants the EU to provide €500m. His principal concern, though, is to ensure that the prospect of future support is not removed.
Under their accession treaties, Slovakia and Bulgaria agreed on specific dates by which EU support would end. No date, however, was given in Lithuania's treaty.
Peter Javorcík, Slovakia's state secretary for EU affairs, said yesterday that Bratislava expects funding for Bohunice to be confirmed and not to be affected by Lithuania's negotiations. Slovakia intends to build a new reactor at Bohunice.
The Bulgarian government opposes the construction of a replacement for Kozloduy, but in a referendum on Sunday (27 January), Bulgarians voted in favour of continuing with the construction of a plant at Belene.
The Lithuanian government will decide in mid-May whether to replace Ignalina.
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