Committee on European Affairs: decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP is a high added value EU project
Press release, 6 April 2018
Photo of the Office of the Seimas (author Džoja Gunda Barysaitė)
At its meeting with a delegation of the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament, the Committee on European Affairs discussed the course of developments in the decommissioning projects of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). Members of the Committee on European Affairs and chairs of other Seimas committees stressed the progress achieved in implementing the projects in the Ignalina NPP and their importance for the national security of Lithuania and for the security of the whole European Union.
It was the second time that a delegation composed of members of the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Court of Auditors and lead by Ingeborg Gräßle, Chair of the Committee on Budgetary Control, visited Lithuania. The main purpose of the visit was to learn about the progress of the Ignalina NPP decommissioning processes in preparation for the decision-making on the Union’s post-2020 budget, including further funding of the decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP.
A representative of the Committee on European Affairs presented the programme on the decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP and the financial support provided by the EU, thus noting that numerous changes have taken place since 2012. The changes were focused on nuclear safety (removal of spent fuel from the reactors), the decommissioning works and closure of the NPP, and the quality of supervision through observance of deadlines, evaluation of costs and assessment of the use of EU funds.
The head of the visiting delegation noted that the situation since the Budgetary Control Committee’s first visit to Lithuania in 2012 had definitely changed. Six years ago the decommissioning works were failing to meet their deadlines.
Ms Gräßle underlined that the Ignalina NPP decommissioning project was yet to face huge challenges ahead. It still needs to attract the best know-how for the performance of technical works, address the issue of funding in the new multiannual financial framework, and increase the share of the national contribution in the project funding. While referring to the funding for the decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP, Ms Gräßle added that Brussels would continue to follow how the funds are used and the deadlines are met, while the consequences of past decisions would be taken into account in the new multiannual financial framework.
Members of the Seimas highlighted that the decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP represented a huge technological challenge. Therefore, it is vital for the EU and Lithuania to join their efforts on a common goal, i.e. safe and effective dismantling of the reactors, which requires uninterrupted EU funding beyond 2020. Members of the Seimas informed of the significance of the national security and geopolitical aspects in the general context of the Ignalina NPP decommissioning project.
Chairs of the Seimas committees maintained that as many EU companies as possible should be involved in the decommissioning projects, because the decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP may set an example for cooperation on nuclear safety and joint financial efforts of EU Member States.
It was observed that Lithuania had plunged into a deep financial crisis, with its GDP dropping by 15%, after the closure of the Ignalina NPP in 2009. However, Lithuania did not resume the operation of the power plant and held on to its commitments to the EU. Hence, the EU Member States are likewise expected to honour their commitment to assist with the implementation of the unprecedented project. In the process of Lithuania’s accession to the EU, the EU Member States pledged to provide adequate financial support for the decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP.
Dainora Asevičienė, Adviser, Office of the Committee on European Affairs, tel. +370 5 239 6861, e-mail: email@example.com
Last updated on 04/10/2018