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Lithuania hits off switch on nuclear plant

Closing Chernobyl-style facility a condition of EU membership

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Lithuania will tonight shut down its single Soviet-era nuclear power plant - a facility which supplies up to 80 per cent of the country's electricity but must go as a condition of the country's membership of the European Union.

According to the BBC, the Ignalina plant in Visaginas opened 26 years ago, and critics of the closure say it's still good for another 10 to 15 years with a "minute" risk of an accident.

The EU is adamant, though, and is providing €820m to cover some of the decommissioning costs.

For Lithuania, the shut-down will mean higher electricity prices and dependency on Russia for much of its energy needs. ®

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