Minister of Energy: It is of particular importance for us, that the EU contribution to decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP remains stable and adequate

Date

2018 09 18

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On the 17th of September Rebecca Harms, the appointed rapporteur of the European Parliament’s (EP) Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), today (17 September), presented a draft ITRE report suggesting to allocate EUR 780 million in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) of the European Union (EU) for the decommissioning of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) – as much as requested by Lithuania.

As maintained in the proposal presented by Rebecca Harms, the main rapporteur of EP on the matters relevant to financing the decommissioning of the INPP, INPP decommissioning is a unique challenge for the European nuclear safety, both due to the size of Chernobyl-type RBMK reactors, the most powerful in the world at that time, and their technical characteristics.

In Ms. Harms’ report, it is noted that in the financial perspective for 2020-2027 the EU should allocate EUR 780 million for the decommissioning of the INPP as the most complicated works – dismantling of both reactors – would start at that time.  The sum proposed by the European Commission (EC) amounting to EUR 552 million does not ensure sufficient funding and would create risks that the INPP decommissioning works might be delayed for at least four years. Extension of the project duration would result in increase of risks associated with nuclear safety, possible increase of costs of the project, as well as loss of ageing skilled personnel capable of carrying out particularly complex dismantling works.

The report also suggests that the existing level of financing, when the EU contributes 86% of the value of the projects, and the remaining part is funded by Lithuania, is optimal and should be maintained in the future.

“This is good news for Lithuania as it is extremely important for us that the EU contribution to this long-term project remains stable and adequate in order to secure safe and timely decommissioning of the INPP. We can see the vital recognition of the INPP decommissioning as a shared commitment between Lithuania and all EU Member States and appreciation of our efforts to ensure smooth and efficient progress of the project”, says the Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

The report also states that the current EC proposal excludes the disposal of spent fuel and radioactive waste in deep geological repository from the scope of Ignalina Programme and identifies it as essentially Lithuanian responsibility. The EP rapporteur R. Harms believes that eventually, the EU should also be contributing to the preparation of such repository in Lithuania, as Lithuania could not accumulate sufficient funding for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel.

The report will be voted on by the EP Committee in November. Lithuania will continue to actively pursue negotiations with the Member States to ensure financial assistance for the closure of the INPP.

The nuclear power plant was built near Ignalina during the Soviet occupation and was designed to serve the electricity needs not only of Lithuania, but of a much broader region – Belarus and the Baltic States.

Full draft report on the proposal for a Council regulation establishing the nuclear decommissioning assistance programme of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania can be found here.