Ignalina 2 free of used fuel

27 February 2018

Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) in Lithuania has announced the removal of the last used fuel assembly from the reactor of unit 2. Some of the used fuel was removed from the reactor after its final closure in 2009, but the remainder was left pending the launch of an Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility (ISFSF).

Ignalina used fuel transfer machine - 460 (Ignalina NPP)
The Ignalina used furl transfer machine (Image: Ignalina NPP)

INPP restarted unloading of used fuel from the unit 2 in June last year after receiving a licence for the industrial operation of the ISFSF, known as Project B1.

The state-run company said it has unloaded 1134 fuel assemblies from the reactor “in a very short time”, 15 months ahead of schedule.

It is now focused on accelerating the transfer of used fuel to the ISFSF, with full adherence to international safety standards, and on ensuring the most efficient of state targets for decommissioning.

The B1 project is financially supported by the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund (IIDSF), which is managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The European Union is by far the biggest contributor to the IIDSF, providing 96% of contributions. Other contributors include Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

Lithuanian State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate, Vatesi, said in May last year that it had issued a permit for the start of commercial operation of the ISFSF. The announcement followed INPP's successful completion of hot tests with ten new design casks.

The facility is at the plant site in Visaginas municipality. Used fuel will be stored in specially designed Constor RBMK1500/M2 casks that will each weigh 118 tonnes when fully loaded. It is expected that about 190 containers with 17,000 used fuel rods will be stored in the facility for up to 50 years.

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.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News