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Poland, Estonia: Ignalina nuclear facility key to energy security

Poland and Estonia agree the construction of a new nuclear power reactor at Lithuania's existing Ignalina plant will boost their energy security, Speaker of Poland's parliament Marek Jurek said after Wednesday talks with Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

„This has great meaning for the energy security of both states and is a chance for all of our states to create an enterprise which can have great economic significance,” Jurek said, referring to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland. Plans call for the project to be completed by 2015 at a cost of 5 to $6 billion. Poland and Lithuania have also forged plans to hook up their electrical power grids in order to plug all three Baltic European Union states into the EU's larger electrical power network.

A Soviet-era reactor at the Ignalina facility is being phased out as part of Lithuania's EU accession agreement. Ilves, who began a two-day visit to Poland on Tuesday, also discussed co-operation between the Baltic three states and Poland on the new Ignalina reactor with Polish President Kaczynski. Speaking at a public lecture, Ilves also insisted the lack of a joint energy policy posed the greatest threat to the security of the 27-member European Union.

The three Baltic states and Poland have voiced strong objections to a Russian-German project to build a natural gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea floor, thus bypassing all four EU states. They allege the pipeline pumping Russian fuel directly to Germany would pose a threat to their energy security and have criticized EU partner Germany for failing to consult the project with the EU. (