Lithuania eyes Areva, Candu, GE, Westinghouse for new nuclear

VILNIUS, LITHUANIA - Lithuania is eyeing four firms, France's Areva SA, Canada's Candu, General Electric Co. (GE) and Westinghouse, as candidates to build a nuclear power plant by 2016, the Lithuanian Electricity Organisation said.

"They all are working with us. Which one is chosen will depend on the quality of the proposal - the best price and conditions," Saulius Specius, a LEO LT board member, told reporters in Vilnius.

"We will try to speed up the construction of the plant so that the first unit is ready in 2016," he added.

Initial plans had called for the new facility to come on-stream between 2018- 21 at a cost of 14 billion litas ($5.87 billion dollars.)

"The maximum capacity of the plant remains at 3,400 (megawatts) - statements that its capacity has been reduced to 2,200 megawatts are not true," LEO LT chairman Rymantas Juozaitis said following reports last week that the organization planned to scale back capacity.

"Output shares in megawatts to be assigned or chosen by the partners will be decided in the future. We know two things - Lithuania will have the share of 1, 300 megawatts and at least 34 per cent of the new facility management company," Specius added.

Lithuania's neighbors Poland, Latvia and Estonia are expected be LEO's partners in the new facility, to be known as the Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant.

With a population of some 38 million Poland is far larger than its Baltic partners, all with populations under 4 million, and has demanded a 1,000-1,200 megawatts share of the new plant's output.

Latvia and Estonia have previously requested shares of 400-500 megawatts each.

The Lithuanian Electricity Organization is a majority state-owned (61.7%) energy holding company with the remaining shares held by the privately-owned NDX Energija.

Lithuania needs the new nuclear facility to fill the power gap that will emerge when its Soviet-era Iganlina plant closes in 2010 in accordance with terms Lithuania agreed with the European Commission for its 2004 entry to the European Union.


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