Work to decommission Ignalina reaches key stage
The decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania passed a major milestone in 2015 with the start of cold (non-nuclear) testing of the newly built facility for storing spent fuel. After the start of full operations, expected in late 2017, the facility will house the 17,000 nuclear fuel assemblies from units 1 and 2 of the plant, which were shut down in 2004 and 2009 respectively.
The highly active fuel assemblies are held in 190 casks made of metal and heavy concrete and will be stored in the new facility for a minimum of 50 years. The purpose of cold testing is to demonstrate that the storage facility’s equipment and systems are working as expected and it will be followed by a hot (nuclear) trial starting in late 2016.
During its negotiations for accession to the EU, Lithuania agreed to the early closure of Ignalina, which is of a similar design to the reactor in Chernobyl. To assist with the process, the EU and 14 European governments set up the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund, which is managed by the EBRD.
The facility will house 17,000 nuclear
fuel assemblies from units 1 and 2
The fuel assemblies
are held in
casks made of metal and heavy concrete