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Lithuanian nuclear plant raises eyebrows

Oct. 1, 2012 at 8:58 AM

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- The international director for Greenpeace expressed concern over plans to build a nuclear power station in Lithuania, citing safety and cost concerns.

Lithuania is to have a non-binding referendum Oct. 13 on whether to move ahead with the construction of the Visaginas nuclear power plant.

The project, if completed, could generate as much as 3,400 megawatts of electricity for Lithuania. The project company states the country is "extremely dependent" on electricity generated from fossil fuels and most of those resources are imported from Russia.

Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo expressed concerns about the project in an open letter to the Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.

"We call upon you to stimulate a more open and evidence-based public debate on nuclear power before the referendum so that Lithuanian citizens are able to make their minds up with all the facts at their disposal," the letter read.

Greenpeace says regional and international plans to cancel various nuclear power plants suggest that form of energy is priced out of the market. Safety issues in the wake of the Japanese nuclear disaster in 2011, meanwhile, highlight growing concerns about nuclear energy.

The European Commission in June stressed radioactive waste disposal was a long-term concern but said safety matters are best left to independent governments. The commission said "the Visaginas project contributes to a sustainable energy mix on national as well as regional level."

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