Lithuania nuclear referendum falls short

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vilnius - A referendum held in Lithuania to decide the future of the Baltic nation's only nuclear power plant has failed to attract the necessary number of voters to be judged valid, official sources said on Monday. Lithuania agreed to close its Ignalina nuclear power plant by 2009 as part of its deal to join the European Union in 2004. A planned replacement, to be built jointly with Estonia, Latvia and Poland, is unlikely to be ready before 2015.

Politicians fear that a six-year energy gap would increase Lithuania's energy dependency on Russia and could ruin the national economy. Ignalina currently supplies around 70 per cent of Lithuania's electricity.

The referendum was intended to show the strength of public feeling on the matter in order to pressure European Union members into granting a reprieve to Ignalina.

Voters were presented with a separate ballot paper for the referendum, asking them "Do you approve of the continued use of the Ignalina plant until a new one can be built?"

They answered "yes" by nearly nine to one, but the referendum failed to attract the 50 percent of eligible voters required to make it valid, falling just short on 47.80 per cent, according to provisional data released by the Lithuanian Central Election Commission.

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Alexandra Prokopenko (not verified) Says:
Sun, 2008-10-19 20:58

Some analysis on the future of nuclear power in Lithuania and the Baltic region