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Cablegate: Latvia: No Plans for Nuclear Power, Except in Lithuania

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHRA #0807 3531328
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181328Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY RIGA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5494
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS RIGA 000807

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG TRGY BEXP BTIO LG
SUBJECT: LATVIA: NO PLANS FOR NUCLEAR POWER, EXCEPT IN LITHUANIA

REF: STATE 127423

1. Latvia has no nuclear power plants, and no plans to develop
nuclear power facilities within its own borders. As Latvia
explored its options for increasing its generation capacity in
mid-2008, there was some speculation that a small nuclear power
plant would be one potential solution. Since then, that idea has
largely been dismissed as unworkable. There is essentially no
existing expertise or industry for developing or operating a nuclear
facility.

2. However, Latvia remains involved in the planning of the
Visaginas (Ignalina) Nuclear Power Plant (VNPP) in Lithuania. As
one of four countries currently involved in the project, Latvia will
presumably have some voice in planning decisions surrounding that
facility, although Lithuania will be leading the project. Assuming
the project goes forward with Latvia as a partner, it would largely
be a business transaction from the Latvian perspective. Because the
facility would be in Lithuania, there is little need for Latvia to
develop a civilian nuclear regulatory framework or train a nuclear
workforce. There is not yet a plan for financing the project.

3. As a result, opportunities for U.S. industry would be limited to
influencing Latvian decision-makers in their decisions about VNPP.
The key contacts for these decisions are at the Ministry of Economy,
including Minister Kaspars Gerhards, State Secretary Anrijs Matiss,
and Head of Energy Division Ugis Sarma.

Rogers

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