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Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund

Lithuania has one nuclear power plant with two units at Ignalina. Both units are Soviet-designed RBMK 1500 reactors and have been subject to thorough safety examinations by international experts, including one Nuclear Safety Account (NSA) - funded assessment project. According to the findings of the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association (WENRA), the main risk of accidents is associated with generic design flaws of the RBMK reactors and the absence of a confinement. This deficiency cannot technically be eliminated nor can the plant be brought up to a safety level comparable to that of western European reactors.

Closure commitments

As a result of the political dialogue leading up to EU enlargement, Lithuania agreed to the early closure of its RBMK 1500 reactors: Ignalina unit 1 was closed by the end of 2004 and unit 2 by the end of 2009.

To assist Lithuania with the decommissioning process, the European Union together with 14 European governments set up the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund (IIDSF) in 2001 at the EBRD.

Scope of the fund

The IIDSF became operational in the autumn of 2001 on the basis of a Framework Agreement of 5 April 2001, which was signed between the Republic of Lithuania and the EBRD by the approval of the Assembly of Contributors and ratified by the Lithuanian Parliament. More than €750 million has been committed in contributions from the European Union, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Grant financing is being allocated as follows:

  • in support of the decommissioning works at Ignalina’s units 1 and 2 through financing and co-financing the construction of facilities for storage and treatment of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and other decommissioning related projects
  • in assistance with the transformation of the energy sector through funding new measures which will improve the efficiency of energy supply and use in Lithuania after the closure of units 1 and 2.

Decommissioning projects

Contracts for the construction of an interim spent fuel storage facility and a solid radioactive management facility are under implementation.

IIDSF has also financed new boiler stations for the Ignalina plant and the nearby town of Visaginas as a substitute source of steam and heat from Ignalina. The stations along with the rehabilitation and extension of district heat-and-steam pipe works were  completed in  in parallel with a new gas pipeline to Visaginas and the Ignalina site.

In addition, the IIDSF has helped in the preparation of the final decommissioning plan and safety analysis report for Ignalina units 1 and 2, including an environmental impact assessment and documentation for the final shut down and de-fuelling phase as well as for dismantling and decontamination.

Energy sector projects

In accordance with the Lithuanian National Energy Strategy and the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plant (BEMIP), the IIDSF is financing energy sector development projects which are consequential to the closure of the Ignalina plant. The objective is to increase the energy efficiency through a continued reliable, secure and environmentally friendly energy supply at minimum cost. 

Key completed IIDSF-financed energy sector projects include updates of a least-cost plan for the Lithuanian power and gas sectors, the flue gas desulphurization facilities for environmental upgrading of the Lithuanian  Power Plant (LPP), the construction of a new state of the art 455 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant and the development of the power interconnection project between Lithuania and Poland.

The IIDSF grant financing of energy sector projects is complemented by an EBRD loan, commercial loans from Lithuanian banks and the utilities own resources.


Last updated 22 October 2012