Construction go-ahead for Ignalina waste stores

03 September 2009

Two waste facilities are to be built at Lithuania's Ignalina site after the national safety regulator issued construction licenses.

 

Ignalina ISFSF (Nukem)
How the Ignalina used fuel storage facility will look
(Image: Nukem)
The State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (Vatesi) today issued the Ignalina plant with a licence to construct an interim storage facility for used RBMK-1500 fuel from units 1 and 2. The licence would also allow the plant to install ancillary equipment for management of used fuel in the plant's reactors. Last week, Vatesi granted Ignalina a licence to build solid radioactive waste treatment and storage facilities at the site.

 

Vatesi said that it had issued both licences under certain preconditions that will have to be fulfilled prior to the beginning of operation of the facilities. For both projects, the plant must ensure physical protection and install security equipment at the construction site. It must also demonstrate that the contractor has enough qualified workers to perform specific operations.

 

A precondition of the licence for the used fuel storage facility is that, by September 2010, Ignalina must prepare and receive approval for a separate project dedicated to manage 'untight' and mechanically damaged fuel.

 

The Ignalina plant signed a contract with the GNS-Nukem consortium of Germany in January 2005 for the design and construction of the interim used fuel storage facility. A further contract was signed with Nukem in November 2005 for the design, construction and commissioning of the solid waste facility.

 

The used fuel storage facility is scheduled to be commissioned in 2011 and will store the bulk of the used fuel that has accumulated over the course of the plant's operation. Some 18,000 fuel assemblies from Ignalina 1 and 2 will be stored in a total of 202 metal and concrete Constor containers at the facility for fifty years.

 

The solid waste facilities - scheduled to be commissioned in 2012 - will handle all solid radioactive waste from the operation and decommissioning of the Ignalina plant that has provided almost 70% of the country's power. They will be used for characterization, classification, processing, and storage of solid radioactive waste accumulating in the course of operation and decommissioning of the plant. The solid waste will be stored at the facility for fifty years.

 

The new solid waste facilities will be located on two separate sites. The solid waste retrieval facility will be built next to the existing temporary waste storage buildings inside the perimeter of the Ignalina plant. The solid waste treatment and storage facilities are to be constructed on a new site close to the plant, adjacent to the interim used fuel storage facility.

 

Both projects are being financed by the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund (IISDF), which is administered by the European Bank for Reconstruction and development (EBRD).

 

The Ignalina plant houses two 1500 MWe Soviet-designed RBMK reactors. Unit 1 was shut down at the end of 2004, while unit 2 is scheduled to shut down at the end of this year.

 

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