UNCLAS VILNIUS 001054
WARSAW FOR FCS:JMCCASLIN
DOC FOR ITA:LMARKOWITZ
NRC:BWITTICK AND JRAMSEY
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG TRGY BEXP BTIO LH
SUBJECT: CIVIL NUCLEAR TRADE INITIATIVE -- RESPONSES TO
REF: SECSTATE 127423
Â¶1. Below please find Post responses to reftel questions.
Overview of Civil Nuclear Power Program
Â¶2. Lithuania plans to build a replacement nuclear power
plant (NPP), known as Visaginas, for the currently operating
Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) in partnership with
Estonia, Latvia, and Poland. Visaginas, named after the town
nearby, will have a capacity of up to 3400 MW. Individual
reactors will not exceed 1300 MW. The currently operating
INPP, a Soviet era Chernobyl-style RBMK reactor is due to
shut down on December 31, 2009.
Â¶3. The underlying motivation for the construction of
Visaginas is energy security via diversification. Lithuania
presently receives about 70 percent of its electrical energy
(approximately 30 percent of its overall energy mix) from the
INPP. Once the INPP closes, Lithuania will rely either on
imported electricity or on natural gas fired plants. The
source of most imported electricity and all natural gas for
the foreseeable future is Russia.
Â¶4. Financing for Visaginas has not yet been decided by LEO
LT, the government controlled national energy holding company
responsible for the design and construction of Visaginas.
LEO officials tell us they would like to hear from U.S.
operators regarding the financing options they are
considering for new NPPs and about Ex/Im Bank programs for
which an NPP is eligible. Post feels LEO would benefit from
more information on the nuclear infrastructure development
programs discussed in paragraph 5 of reftel.
Â¶5. The key nuclear decision making government bodies and top
- Gytis Maksimovas, Head, State Nuclear Power Safety
- Gintautas Mazeika, CEO, Chairman of the Management Board,
- Darius Montvila, Strategic Project Director, Management
Board Member, LEO LT
- Marius Grinevicius, General Director, Visagino Atomine
- Romas Svedas, Director of Economic Security Policy
- Arvydas Sekmokas, nominated to become Minister of Energy
(newly created ministry)
- Jurgis Vilemas, Chairman of the Institute Council,
Lithuanian Energy Institute (often advises the government on
Â¶6. VATESI is Lithuania's nuclear regulatory authority. Its
enforcement and inspection powers include setting and
ensuring adherence to national nuclear safety standards and
it can suspend operation of the INPP. VATESI issues licenses
for operating nuclear installations and assesses their
safety. VATESI presently employs 65 people, and plans to
increase this to 74 by the end of January 2009.
Â¶7. Lithuania is a member of the following international
agreements and conventions related to the safe use of nuclear
energy; there is no domestic nuclear liability law in
- 1963 Vienna Convention on Civil Liability in the Field of
- 1988 Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the
Vienna Convention and Paris Convention
- 1968 Convention on the Early Notification of a Nuclear
- 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
- 1994 Convention on Nuclear Safety
- Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material
- Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
- Convention on Assistance in Case of Nuclear Accident or
- Preliminary agreement with the United States Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC)
Â¶8. The manufacturing base of Lithuania is presently not
involved in nuclear-related products and services. U.S.
nuclear plant producers have said that for other than
selected components such as a reactor pressure vessel,
Lithuanian industry could contribute to the construction of a
plant. VAE officials say that Lithuanian industry could
contribute in the areas of construction, instrumentation, and
control for a new NPP.
Â¶9. Lithuania has a number of qualified operators of the
present RBMK nuclear power plant. There is a significant
engineering, technician, and construction base in Lithuania
that could be readily converted into a nuclear workforce.
Vilnius University's Faculty of Physics started a new
bachelor's program in September 2008 in nuclear reactor
physics. It presently has 32 students. In addition, Kaunas
Technological University has had a nuclear engineering
program since 1978. From 1995 through 2007, this program
produced 130 nuclear engineering graduates.
Opportunities for U.S. Industry
Â¶10. Visagino Atomine Elecktrine (VAE), a subdivision of LEO
LT, plans to begin the tendering process for a replacement
for the INPP in late 2010. The tender selection process has
not been announced, however, but the environmental impact
assessment and more information about the project can be
found at http://vae.lt.en. GE and Westinghouse have
expressed interest in bidding.
Â¶11. VAE is interested in speaking with U.S. NPP operators.
Plant construction management, reactor sales, fuel cycle
service provision, plant operations, waste management, and
logistics all might be opportunities for U.S. firms.
Â¶12. The primary companies involved in Lithuania's civil
nuclear sector are:
- LEO LT: the national energy holding company of Lithuania.
This firm is 61.7 percent owned by the GOL with the
remaining 38.3 percent owned by VST, a private firm.
- Visagino Atomine Elektrine (VAE): A subdivision of LEO,
responsible for planning and likely constructing the new NPP.
- Ignalinos Atomine Elektrine: An independent firm
operating the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP), presently
producing electricity but will shut down on Dec. 31, 2009.
This firm has no influence on the construction of the new
NPP, Visaginas, but the INPP might present decommissioning
business opportunities for U.S. firms. www.iae.lt
Â¶13. There are other nuclear supplier countries engaging
Lithuania. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the
new NPP states that the following firms' reactors are being
- Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (Canada) Enhanced CANDU-6,
- Atomstroyexport (Russia) V-392, V-448
- Areva (France) EPR, SWR-1000
- GE-Hitachi (U.S./Japan) ABWR, ESBWR
- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan) APWR
- Westinghouse-Toshiba (U.S./Japanese) AP-600, AP-1000
Â¶14. Lithuanian officials are disinclined to choose a reactor
design of Russian origin for the new plant. Article 8,
paragraph 6 of the Lithuanian Law on the New Nuclear Power
Plant says that "when selecting participants in the
implementation of the project of the nuclear power plant, the
criteria of European and Trans-Atlantic integration would be
applied." Lithuanians are largely pro-American, and GOL
officials have shown great interest in the American
companies' designs. Areva has been quite active here,
however, and former PM Gediminas Kirkilas and former Economy
Minister Vytas Navickas visited Areva's headquarters November
Â¶15. In 2007, Lithuanian Economy Minister Navickas and French
Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo signed an agreement on
cooperation in the field of energy that includes clean
energy, closer business relations and cooperation between
scientific societies. In 1994, the GOL signed an agreement
with Canada on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy
that was annulled and replaced with Canada's agreement with
the EU, when Lithuania acceded to the European Union in 2004.
End Cable Text