Viewing cable 09TALLINN361
Title: ESTONIA UPBEAT ON VISAGINAS NPP; PROSPECTS FOR A DOMESTIC

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09TALLINN3612009-12-03 14:47:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tallinn
VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTL #0361/01 3371447
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 031447Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0270
INFO RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 0011
RUEHHE/AMEMBASSY HELSINKI 0018
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0048
RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA 0063
RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 0003
RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN
RUEHVL/AMEMBASSY VILNIUS 0065
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0004
C O N F I D E N T I A L TALLINN 000361 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
ENERGY FOR PI/APICELLI 
COMMERCE FOR ITA/DERSTINE 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/11/30 
TAGS: ENRG ECON PREL EINV LH EN
SUBJECT: ESTONIA UPBEAT ON VISAGINAS NPP; PROSPECTS FOR A DOMESTIC 
REACTOR DIMINISHING 
 
REF: A. TALLINN 384; B. TALLINN 110 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Marc Nordberg, Pol/Econ Chief; REASON: 1.4(B), (D) 
 
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SUMMARY 
 
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¶1. (C) In separate meetings with Econoff, GOE and Eesti Energia 
officials expressed their pleasure with the progress Lithuania has 
made recently on the Visaginas nuclear power plant (NPP) project 
and emphasized that Estonia was only at the earliest stages of 
developing its own, alternative, NPP.  (Note: The GOE has been 
investigating building its own NPP as progress on Visaginas was 
slower than expected.)  Einari Kisel, Deputy Secretary General of 
Energy at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, 
stated he expected the GOE would announce that Estonia will not 
build its own NPP once an official tender was issued for a reactor 
at Visaginas.  Despite the generally optimistic outlook, Eesti 
Energia stressed the next year will be decisive for the Visaginas 
project, achieving either real agreements or an indefinite 
postponement/cancellation of the project.  END SUMMARY. 
 
 
 
¶2. (SBU) EconOff met separately with Andres Tropp, Head of Nuclear 
Energy for Eesti Energia, and Einari Kisel, Deputy Secretary 
General of Energy at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and 
Communications, to discuss Estonia's participation in the Visaginas 
NPP project and Estonia's plans to develop its own NPP. 
 
 
 
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Eesti energia pleased with recent progress; next 12 months WILL BE 
decisive 
 
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¶3. (C) Tropp began by emphasizing that Eesti Energia's top priority 
was the Visaginas NPP project.  Development of the project has been 
disappointingly slow due to Lithuanian internal politics, Tropp 
said, however the Lithuanian government has been "active and 
efficient" the last six to eight months and has created an 
ambitious plan.  Still, Tropp said the next twelve months would be 
decisive.  If firm agreements are not completed in that time, then 
Tropp believes the Baltic states will have to indefinitely postpone 
or cancel the Visaginas project. 
 
 
 
¶4. (C) Tropp expressed his frustration with the attention the 
Estonian NPP project is receiving.  He said Estonia was only in the 
earliest preparatory phase and that he felt lucky Estonia has a 
"few years" before it has to make any decisions on its own NPP. 
Tropp added that the GOE did not understand what it took to build 
an NPP.  He felt the GOE gave the public a false belief in 
Estonia's ability and intention to build an NPP in the medium-term 
and that the GOE's talk of nuclear power supplying one-third of 
Estonia's energy by 2020 was overly simplistic. 
 
 
 
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Estonian NPP Project to be put on hold if Visaginas CONTINUES 
movING forward 
 
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¶5. (C) Kisel said Estonia's nuclear program will not be developed 
further if the Visaginas project continues at its current pace.  He 
expects that once there is an official tender for the Visaginas 
reactor, the GOE would announce that it will not/not issue a tender 
for a reactor in Estonia.  Despite this, Kisel continued to draft 
nuclear regulatory legislation in case Estonia needs to go forward 
with its own NPP project.  Additionally, the GOE has proceeded with 
the high-profile sale of potential NPP sites to Eesti Energia. 
 
 
 
¶6. (C) Tropp and Kisel stated that cooperation with their 
Lithuanian and Latvian counterparts was good.  They conceded there 
was earlier tension since Lithuania wanted to handle NPP issues on 
a political level and Estonia wanted to keep negotiations on a 
corporate level.  Both stated this disagreement is more or less 
resolved with the Lithuanian energy company representing all three 
regional investors in preliminary talks with potential strategic 
partners.  Tropp and Kisel agreed Visaginas would start as a 
single-reactor NPP, with a second and possibly third reactor added 
later if the market demanded.  They also dismissed as pointless any 
discussion of the share of output each country would receive, or 
how much each would have to invest, until after a strategic partner 
was chosen.  Tropp added that Eesti Energia wanted to receive 
electricity at production costs, not dividends from the company. 
 
 
 
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COMMENT 
 
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¶7.  (C) Less than a year ago, Estonia was looking seriously at the 
possibility of a national nuclear plant to meet its own energy 
needs and to export to larger neighbors.  Now, with sharply falling 
GDPs and electricity demand slumping, Estonia is much more focused 
on regional solutions.  While we are surprised to hear Estonian 
officials talk of writing off the domestic option so quickly, 
Estonia has not yet negotiated how much energy it will receive fom 
Visaginas, and until its energy supply is assured, GOE officials 
will continue to speak publicly about an Estonian NPP.  END 
COMMENT. 
DECKER