Contracts for Ignalina dismantling technology

04 January 2023

Lithuania's State Enterprise Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (IAE) has signed two contracts with international consortiums for the design of technologies for dismantling the two shut down RBMK reactors at the plant.

One of the RBMK reactors at the Ignalina plant (Image: IAE)

IAE has signed separate contracts with a consortium comprising Westinghouse Electric Spain, Jacobs Slovakia sro and the Lithuanian Energy Institute as well as a consortium comprising EDF and Graphitec.

The preliminary contracts, signed on 28 December, are for a period of four years, with the maximum price of each preliminary contract being EUR5.5 million (USD5.8 million) excluding VAT.

The design services for reactor dismantling technologies will be provided in two stages. During the initial stage, after concluding two preliminary contracts with contractors, the reactor dismantling concept will be developed. Each contractor will design and propose two engineering solutions. IAE, in consultation with stakeholders - including the European Commission, Lithuania's Ministry of Energy, the Central Project Management Agency and the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate - will evaluate the proposed options and choose the best concept, on the basis of which the technical design and licensing services for reactor dismantling will be purchased later.

Phase 2 works (including the technological design, safety analysis report and other documents), which focus on further development of the selected reactor dismantling concept, will be acquired through a separate purchase after the completion of the preliminary contracts.

"Today we reached an important stage in the decommissioning project of the Ignalina nuclear power plant," said IAE CEO Audrius Kamiens. "Decommissioning the reactor core is the most complex part of decommissioning. Therefore, we are happy and proud to seek the best, most advanced and safest reactor decommissioning technologies together with skilled and reliable world-class partners.

"It is very important for us that these world-renowned companies, which have accumulated significant professional experience and develop cutting-edge innovations, will be part of the nuclear power plant decommissioning project. I am firmly convinced that the knowledge and experience they will bring to the project will be invaluable and will lay a solid foundation for the further dismantling of the reactors of the Ignalina nuclear power plant."

Lithuania agreed to shut down Ignalina units 1 and 2 as a condition of its accession to the European Union. Unit 1 was shut down in December 2004 and unit 2 in December 2009.

The final cask of used fuel was transferred from the reactor buildings at Ignalina to an on-site interim storage facility in April 2022. The physical dismantling of the reactors is scheduled to begin in 2028, with the site expected to achieve the "brown field" end-stage by 2038.

IAE said the dismantling of Ignalina reactors "is an unprecedented work, a project without analogues in the world. The decommissioning of two of the world's most powerful RBMK-type reactors is the first decommissioning project of such a nuclear power plant in global practice".

The project is being financed through the funds of the EU Ignalina programme.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News