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Lithuania Clings Onto European Nuclear Energy Hopes In Bid To Lessen Reliance On Russian Gas

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Lithuania Clings Onto European Nuclear Energy Hopes In Bid To Lessen Reliance On Russian Gas

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President Nausėda’s dreams for Lithuania’s nuclearization will be difficult to realize.

Written by Paul Antonopoulos, independent geopolitical analyst

As part of the EU’s bid to transition away from fossil fuels, the European Commission has drafted a proposal that would label some nuclear and natural gas projects as “green”. This caught the attention and interest of Lithuania, with President Gitanas Nausėda being one of the first to comment on the European Commission’s draft bill.

“Taking account of scientific advice and current technological progress, as well as varying transition challenges across Member States, the Commission considers there is a role for natural gas and nuclear as a means to facilitate the transition towards a predominantly renewable-based future,” the European Commission said in a statement.

Due to the Lithuania’s decision to shut down the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant as part of conditions for joining the EU, as well as the country’s unsuccessful attempt to build the Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant, Lithuanian nuclear scientists have already accumulated some experience in nuclear waste disposal and designing plans for new reactors. The Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant was proposed to be built at the site of the closed Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, but ultimately failed to materialize.

The experience gained already, despite being negative, does give Lithuania advantages. Given the European Union’s seemingly changed opinion on nuclear energy, Nausėda and his advisers decided to declare Lithuania as one of the initiators of a new European energy strategy.

“I see from the position of other countries, which we discussed in the European Union, that both nuclear ideas are going through a kind of renaissance, and a significant number of EU countries are talking about the construction of nuclear reactors. But it goes without saying that these decisions are already longer-term and are not implemented so quickly,” Nausėda said.

Neighboring Poland has also announced its intentions to build small nuclear reactors to lessen its reliance on Russian energy. Given Lithuania’s significant economic issues, it is difficult to conceive how they will be able to fund such an ambitious project, let alone have all the complete technical knowledge.

In Europe, the French dominates nuclear technology and the Macron government has already announced plans to build more reactors and increase nuclear energy. Germany, by contrast, is abandoning nuclear power plants and treats gas-fired power plants as green energy transition technology. The Germans can now rely on Russian gas as it can be easily and cheaply supplied through the Nord Stream pipelines and is no longer at the mercy of transit state Ukraine.

Unsurprisingly, German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke criticised the European Commission’s bill to make nuclear energy an environmentally friendly source.

“I find it completely wrong that the European Commission is intending to classify nuclear energy as a sustainable economic activity,” the Green party lawmaker said.

Whether Europeans prefer the French or German model will become clear after the bill is deliberated in the European Parliament. At least 15 of the 27 EU Member States must vote in favor of the bill before it can be approved. However, unlike Germany, Lithuania does not have cheap gas or excess money to construct a nuclear power plant. Thus, Nausėda’s dream of constructing Lithuanian nuclear power plants is unlikely to be realized.

Lithuania’s search for cheap electricity can be easily concluded by signing a contract with Belarus’ Astravets Nuclear Power Plant – however, that is another bridge burnt by decisionmakers in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius because of their campaign to enact Washington’s interests against Russia and Belarus in Europe.

As part of this campaign, Lithuania desperately seeks alternative energy sources. However, the Baltic country only has two realistic options – to consume Russian gas or receive energy from Belarus’ Astravets nuclear power plant, which is only 40 kilometers east of Vilnius.

It appears that Lithuania has no intentions of restoring relations with Moscow or Minsk. Yet, despite making no effort to restore relations, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Egidijus Meilūnas said during a video conference on Friday that took place against the backdrop of the upcoming Russia-NATO Council meeting scheduled for January 12: “At the moment, there are no signs that indicate Russia’s efforts to de-escalate the situation. The mobilization of Russian military forces and revanchist rhetoric force the strengthening of deterrence and collective defense, so we are seeking additional security guarantees for NATO’s eastern flank.”

Due to Vilnius’ stubborn refusal to serve the interests of Lithuania’s citizens, the country now finds itself in a position where it has failed to achieve energy independence but has also alienated itself from two neighbouring states that can provide cheap energy. However, Lithuania refuses to accept Russian or Belarussian energy sources, even if Germany unapologetically relies on Russian gas, simply out of the Lithuanian elite wanting to serve Washington’s interests rather than their own citizens and the wider EU bloc.

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jens holm

I dont like nuke power plants at all.

But I do understand Russia should not be able to make threats.

The changes from fossils in EU continue but is too slow. As long as we dont have that kind of facility in Our gardens, Im fine.

Dick Von Dast'Ard

“When Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive and not be robbed or raped.”
Lithuania didn’t have an issue with energy provision prior Eu/Nato membership.

Last edited 9 days ago by Dick Von Dast'Ard
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