Lithuania closes its nuclear power station
New Delhi: Lithuania has closed the nuclear power station at the request of the European Union when it joined the bloc. The EU considered the Soviet-era plant having similar hidden trouble in safety to the one that exploded at Chernobyl in 1986. Lithuania plans to build another nuclear power plant, though not until around 2019. As a result of the shut down, Lithuanians will now have to pay more for electricity at a time of economy recession. The government says electricity bills for households will rise by one third beginning in 2010. Analysts have said the shutdown could cut gross domestic product growth by up to 1 and a half percentage points, and add one percentage point to inflation.
Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant is a closed two-unit RBMK-1500 nuclear power station in Visaginas, Lithuania. It is named after a larger nearby town Ignalina. The plant is similar to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in both reactor design and in its lack of a robust containment building and Lithuania agreed to close it as part of its accession agreement to the European Union. Unit 1 was closed in December 2004. The remaining unit accounted for 25% of Lithuania's electricity generating capacity, and supplied about 70% of Lithuania's electrical demand. Unit 2 was closed on 31 December 2009. Proposals have been made to construct another nuclear power plant next to Ignalina, but the global financial crisis of 2009 makes financing a multi-billion dollar new plant a challenging proposition.