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Lithuanians reject new nuclear plant project

Associated Press

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania's election authority says nearly two-thirds of voters have rejected the idea of building a new nuclear power plant.

The Central Election Commission says that with 45 percent of precincts counted some 64 percent of votes cast in the referendum were against the new plant, while 36 percent were in support. The commission says the vote proportion is unlikely to change.

Although the Sunday referendum was non-binding, a strong 'no' vote could torpedo Lithuania's plans to build the facility along with neighbors Estonia and Latvia and Japan's Hitachi.

The current center-right government says the plant is necessary to wean Lithuania off its energy dependence on Russia, while critics say the project is too expensive and the Fukushima catastrophe has cast an indelible shadow over Japanese nuclear technology.

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