The closure of the first and second units of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant /NPP/ will cause many technical, financial and social problems, NPP's Managing Director Viktor Shevaldin has been quoted as saying.
According to him, an agreement between the Lithuanian government and European Union /EU/ to close the second unit in 2009 did not come as a surprise for the NPP management, although the unit could operate for another two decades. Lithuania has taken an obligation to close the first unit by 2005.
Shevaldin said that the town of Visaginas with a 30,000 population almost completely depended on the NPP. The shutting down of two reactors will result in the firing of more than a half of the plant's personnel.
Long negotiations between Lithuania and EU resulted in the Wednesday conclusion of an agreement to close the NPP, which produces almost 70% of the country's energy.
In compliance with the agreement, 2.4 bln. euro will be allocated to Lithuania by 2020 to carry out works relating to the NPP's closure, stockpiling of processed fuel and other purposes. Later on, Lithuania will need another 3 bln. euro.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign