More EU support for decommissioning the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant
Today, Members of the European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee just voted, by an absolute majority, to support nuclear decommissioning in Lithuania with €780 million, higher than the Commission's proposal of only €552 million. During Lithuania's accession to the EU it was agreed that the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, which includes two Chernobyl-type reactors, was to be dismantled over safety concerns.
The ITRE committee position, voted on today, would see the EU support 86% of the costs of decommissioning the Ignalina Plant to Lithuania's 14%. This is up from the Commission's proposal of 80% to 20%. The Greens/EFA group expect the European Parliament Plenary to confirm the ITRE position.
Rebecca Harms, Greens/EFA Rapporteur on the Ignalina decommissioning programme, comments:
"Today's vote sends an important sign of solidarity to the people of Lithuania from the European Parliament. The vote also shows the trust in the reliability of the management of the decommissioning processes at Ignalina NPP. The increased funds are necessary to allow for the safe and efficient decommissioning of the two reactors and prevent costly and dangerous disruptions of the process.
"Nuclear decommissioning is a long, difficult and expensive process connected with many risks. Other nuclear countries can learn from the Lithuanian experience. A well-managed process will contribute to the security of Lithuania and Europe."
Bronis Ropė, Greens/EFA Member from Lithuania, comments:
"I applaud ITRE committee for resisting the Commission’s pressure to reduce the EU’s share in the Programme and to increase that of Lithuania. It would be unfair with regard to Lithuania: there is not reference in the Accession Treaty of the mandatory contribution of Lithuania. Acting in good faith, Vilnius agreed to commit itself to covering 14% of the Programme’s cost, and this share should not rise to 20% as the Commission suggests.
"Let us not forget that besides co-financing the decommissioning works, Lithuania has the obligation to address acute social problems that the region is facing as a result of the loss of its biggest employer – Ignalina NPP. The decommissioning programme does not cover these social issues, so Lithuania has to find other sources to tackle the problem of unemployment and provide new opportunities for the people of the Ignalina region".