Lithuania: Referendum on new nuclear power plant

Öppet / slutet möte: 
öppet
Sun 14 Oct 2012
Lithuania

Source: World Information Service on Energy (WISE) Nuclear Monitor, August 3, 2012. No. 753, p. 10.

On July 16, Lithuanian Parliament decided that there will be a referendum about Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant project. Text of the referendum will be: "I approve construction of the new nuclear power plant in Lithuania" Yes/No. Sixty-two lawmakers voted in favour of the opposition proposal to hold the referendum, which will not be binding, in tandem with the Baltic state's general election on October 14, while 39 were against and 18 abstained. "Visaginas nuclear power plant will be built on Lithuanian land, with increased danger, therefore we must ask the opinion of the Lithuanian people," said opposition Social Democrat Birute Vesaite. Lithuania's governing Conservatives opposed the referendum plan, accusing the opposition of simply seeking pre-election political gains. The government will not be bound by the results of the referendum, but the vote may add uncertainty to the already-sluggish nuclear project, which lacks strong support from opposition parties that lead the election polls.

At the end of 2009, Lithuania closed its only nuclear power plant, located near Visaginas in the northeast. The shutdown was one of the terms of Lithuania's 2004 admission to the European Union. A referendum on extending the old plant until a new one was ready was held alongside the last general election in 2008, but while 89 percent voted in favour, turnout was only 48 percent, rendering it invalid.

Now a new wave of propaganda and information about nuclear power is expected. But it is impossible to speak of a level playing field for pro and anti-nuclear organizations, considering the differences in financial means.

AFP, 16 July 2012