Lithuania wary of Russia, Belarus plans

Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius expressed concern over plans by Russia and Belarus to build nuclear power plants close to his country's borders, while insisting that Lithuania's own plans for a nuclear facility will go ahead. "We are quite concerned about the plans in Russia and Belarus," Kubilius said while speaking on Lithuanian national radio. "If they were to be constructed, we would face considerable environmental challenges."

Russia has plans to build two nuclear reactors in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad between Lithuania and Poland, while authorities in Belarus have been surveying locations around Michaliskes, 20 kilometers from the Lithuanian border, with a view to constructing their own nuclear plant.

Kubilius' comments came one day after green activists in Lithuania protested on the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster against the planned construction of a new nuclear power plant near the town of Visaginas in the north of the country. However, Kubilius suggested the protests had an ulterior motive. "When I see that rallies are held not to show concern for the plants in Belarus and Russia, but for the one to be built in Visaginas, I'm left thinking that this was the intention behind announcing projects in Russia and Belarus," he said.

The new Lithuanian facility, which comes with an estimated cost of around $4 billion and an anticipated completion date of 2018, will replace the Ignalina nuclear power plant, which was shut down on December 31, 2009.


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