Energy Minister: We must proceed with the smooth shutdown of Ignalina nuclear power plant

Date

2017 09 19

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On September 15, Friday, the Lithuanian Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas visited the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP), where he inspected the progress of the decommissioning works of INPP and the achieved results. Mr Vaičiūnas praised the progress made in the past years, emphasizing its significance is seeking further EU funding for the decommissioning of INPP.

The Minister examined the dismantling process and visited the reactor unit of INPP to check and assess the complexity of ongoing decommissioning works. He also visited the newly built facilities for storage and disposal of radioactive waste.

During the visit, Mr Vaičiūnas and the top managers of INPP discussed the possibilities to enhance the effectiveness INPP decommissioning processes and the importance of securing further EU financing to ensure the smooth shutdown of INPP.

“The progress that we have achieved in the recent years is impressive. We are ahead of the schedule with the works of removing spent nuclear fuel into storage facilities. It is important for us to keep up with this pace in the future. We must fulfil our obligation – to carry out a nuclear power plant decommissioning project, which is unique in the world, in a timely, transparent and safe manner. To achieve this, we must not only successfully perform all works in time but also secure the required financing,” says Mr Vaičiūnas.

This year alone has seen a significant progress in carrying out the major works of decommissioning of INPP; “hot” tests of the temporary spent nuclear fuel storage facility were carried out and permission to use the storage facility was obtained about six months earlier; permission was obtained for building a low- and intermediate-level short-lived radioactive waste  surface repository and a licence for its exploitation is expected to be obtained in the nearest future; “hot” tests of a solid radioactive waste disposal facility  were launched and should be completed in November, when permission for the industrial exploitation of the disposal facility will be sought.

“We carry out the projects of decommissioning INPP, which is equipped with two RBMK-1500 type reactors, the most powerful in the world. The projects involve not only the deactivation and dismantling of major safety systems, equipment and buildings, but also the removal of spent nuclear fuel as well as the management and storage of nuclear waste in accordance with the strict requirements of radiation protection. The achieved progress is an important step towards ensuring a safe future for us all and next generations,” states CEO of INPP Darius Janulevičius.

INPP resumed the works of removing spent nuclear fuel from the second unit reactor six months earlier than scheduled. It is planned that the removal of fuel from both reactors will be finished by 2022.

About a third of INPP’s equipment is expected to be dismantled by the end of this year. All decommissioning works should be completed by 2038.

To ensure an adequate contribution of the Lithuanian state to the decommissioning of INPP, at a meeting this week the Government approved the decision to secure by 2038 the same national funding for the decommissioning of INPP as before, that is 14% of the project’s value.

The total cost of decommissioning is put at EUR 3.3 billion, with the financing needs of EUR 1.6 billion beyond 2020.