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Polish prime minister visits Lithuania for talks on power

Visiting Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Friday repeated Warsaw’s commitment to a power bridge between Poland and Lithuania and the new power plant to be constructed in Lithuania.

„With much joy, I accepted the assurances of your prime minister on the capacity of the new nuclear power plant and Lithuania’s intentions regarding Poland’s demands,” Tusk said. „If we continue to talk constructively in the future, I’m not concerned about the results,” Tusk said in Vilnius on his first trip abroad after winning the October 21 parliamentary elections,’ he added. Lithuania is hoping to connect its electrical grid with the European Union via Poland to shield it from an electricity shortfall when Lithuania closes the existing Ignalina nuclear power plant at the end of 2009, part of its agreement with the EU. Known as „a power bridge”, the €300 million ($440 million) link is a crucial part of plans to build a new Ignalina nuclear power plant. Lithuania and Poland want to build it together with two other EU members from the Baltics, Latvia and Estonia to offset their dependence on Russian sources of energy. The new Ignalina plant must have a high megawatt capacity to meet Poland’s needs and make building the power bridge to neighboring Lithuania viable, according to the Polish media, however, Tusk sees the power bridge and the new nuclear plant as two separate projects.

Poland needs a 1,000-megawatt share of the planned project for the power bridge to be commercially viable, the Polish media reported. Lithuania has not yet specified whether the planned Ignalina nuclear facility will have a 1,600 or 3,200-megawatt capacity. The EU is prepared to pay €135 million ($192 million) for the venture. The two countries were supposed to ink the agreement on the power bridge early October, but it has been delayed. „We haven’t set the date, but both countries don’t doubt that the task will be completed,” Tusk said. (m&