Ignalina storage facility set for commercial operation

05 May 2017

Lithuanian State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (Vatesi) said today it had issued a permit for the start of commercial operation of the country's new interim used fuel storage facility. The announcement followed State Enterprise Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant's (INPP's) successful completion yesterday of hot tests with ten new design casks. The company has demonstrated it is ready to operate the facility safely, Vatesi said.

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 facility, known as the ISFSF B1 Project, 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.

"After Vatesi inspectors reviewed the results of the completed hot test (test with materials used in nuclear fuel cycle), performed inspections and checked other information provided by Ignalina NPP, it was concluded that all the activities related to [used] fuel handling in the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant units, shipment to the storage facility and storage comply with the approved technical design documentation and final safety analysis report. That was the basis to issue the permit," Vatesi said.

All the used fuel from the Ignalina units is expected to be moved into storage at the facility by the end of 2022.

An operating licence was issued for the new storage facility in September last year. This permitted commissioning of the facility and the start of hot trials with new design casks.

INPP has said the start of 'industrial operation' of the ISFSF would start this October.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News