Visaginas nuclear power plant
Visaginas nuclear power plant is a planned nuclear power
Nuclear power
Nuclear power is the use of sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity...

 plant project in Lithuania. It is proposed to be built at the site of the closed Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant
Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant
The Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant is a closed two-unit RBMK-1500 nuclear power station in Visaginas, Lithuania. It was named after the nearby city of Ignalina...

 which was shut-down on 31 December 2009 in accordance with Lithuania's accession agreement to the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. The two reactors of existing Ignalina plant are currently undergoing a decommissioning
Nuclear decommissioning
Nuclear decommissioning is the dismantling of a nuclear power plant and decontamination of the site to a state no longer requiring protection from radiation for the general public...



Discussions concerning the building of a new nuclear power plant started in the 1990s and continued in the 2000s. By the accession agreement to the EU, Lithuania took on an obligation to decommission the reactors of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant.

On 1 December 2005, during his visit to Estonia, Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas
Algirdas Brazauskas
Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas was the first President of a newly independent post-Soviet Union Lithuania from 1993 to 1998 and Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006....

 met with the CEO of Eesti Energia
Eesti Energia
Eesti Energia AS is a state-owned energy company in Estonia with its headquarters in Tallinn. The company operates in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Jordan. In Estonia the company operates under the name Eesti Energia, while using the brand name Enefit for international operations...

, Sandor Liive to discuss Eesti Energia's participation in the nuclear power plant project. On 26 January 2006, in the conference in Vilnius
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city, with a population of 560,190 as of 2010. It is the seat of the Vilnius city municipality and of the Vilnius district municipality. It is also the capital of Vilnius County...

 the representatives of all three Baltic States
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 discussed the realization study for construction of a new Power Plant in the region. On 27 February 2006 at the meeting in Trakai
Trakai is a historic city and lake resort in Lithuania. It lies 28 km west of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Because of its proximity to Vilnius, Trakai is a popular tourist destination. Trakai is the administrative centre of Trakai district municipality. The town covers 11.52 km2 of...

, the Prime Ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia signed a communiqué which invited state-owned energy companies in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to invest in the design and construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania on the basis of agreed terms and conditions applicable to each party involved. On the basis of this communiqué, on 8 March 2006, the heads of Lietuvos Energija
Lietuvos Energija
Lietuvos Energija is the main power company in Lithuania. It owns the largest power plant in Lithuania Elektrėnai Power Plant and directly owns two largest hydroelectric plants in the country . It has also stake in the Klaipėda Geothermal Demonstration Plant...

, Eesti Energia and Latvenergo
Latvenergo is a state-owned energy company in Latvia. The company generates about 70% of the country's electricity.Latvenergo has three hydroelectric power plants, Pļaviņu HES, Rīgas HES and Ķeguma HES-2, with a total installed capacity of 1,463 MWe, two combined heat power plants with electricity...

 during their meeting in Ignalina signed a memorandum of understanding on the preparation for construction of a new nuclear reactor in Lithuania. On 8 December 2006, Poland was invited to join the project.

On 28 June 2007, Lithuania's parliament adopted a law on building a new nuclear power plant, the formal start of a project. On 4 July 2007, the President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus
Valdas Adamkus
Valdas Adamkus was President of Lithuania from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2004 to 2009.In Lithuania, the President's tenure lasts for five years; Adamkus' first term in office began on February 26, 1998 and ended on February 28, 2003, following his defeat by Rolandas Paksas in the next...

 signed the law and it became effective on 10 July 2007. The law also stipulated creation of a "national investor" to gain investments for the new nuclear power plant. The talks between the government and privately owned NDX Energija on the establishment of the "national investor" company started on 30 November 2007. The creation of the national investor—LEO LT
LEO LT AB or Lithuanian Electricity Organization was a national energy holding company in Lithuania. The company owned shares of Lithuania's three major electric power production and distribution companies...

—was agreed between the Government of Lithuania and NDX Energija on 20 December 2007. Lithuanian Parliament approved the agreement on 1 February 2008 and the Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus
Valdas Adamkus
Valdas Adamkus was President of Lithuania from 1998 to 2003 and again from 2004 to 2009.In Lithuania, the President's tenure lasts for five years; Adamkus' first term in office began on February 26, 1998 and ended on February 28, 2003, following his defeat by Rolandas Paksas in the next...

 signed the law on 12 February 2008. However, LEO LT was dissolved at the end of 2009 and the responsibilities for construction of the nuclear power plant took over the special project company Visagino atominė elektrinė. A tender for finding a strategic investor was launched in December 2009.

On 15 November 2007, the environmental impact assessment program was approved. On 30 July 2008, the planned new nuclear power plant was officially named Visaginas nuclear power plant.

On 14 July 2011, Lithuania Ministry of Energy announced that it plans to sign a contract with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is a provider of advanced reactors and nuclear services. It is located in Wilmington, N.C.. Established in June 2007, GEH is a global nuclear alliance created by General Electric and Hitachi...

 as strategic investor by end 2011.

Technical description

Depending on the findings of the environmental impact assessment, the capacity of the power plant would be up to 3,400 megawatts and it would likely consist of two reactors. Depending on the choice of reactor, the power plant would be built by 2018–2020. The project is expected to cost between €3–5 billion.

Project company

The project is developed by Visagino atominė elektrinė, a special project company. Majority of the shares in the projet company will be owned by the strategic investor. In addition to the strategic investor Lithuania will retain 34% interests in the project. Estonian, Latvian and Polish companies will participate in the project as regional partners.

Environmental impact assessment

The environmental impact assessment is carried out by the consortium of Pöyry Energy Oy
Pöyry is a global consulting and engineering firm focusing on the energy, forest industry and infrastructure & environment sectors. It changed its name from Jaakko Pöyry Group in 2006...

 and Lithuanian Energy Institute. The EIA program was approved on 15 November 2007 and the EIA report was published on 27 August 2008. The whole EIA process was finished on March 27, 2009 and the report was approved by Ministry of Environment on April 21, 2009 by allowing construction of the plant up to 3,400  megawatts. The Environmental Impact Assessment approval was appealed by a coalition of NGOs (Community Atgaja from Lithuania, the Latvian Green Movement, CEE Bankwatch Network and Greenpeace
Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, The Netherlands...

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