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Last spent nuclear fuel removed from reactors at Ignalina

By Anton Usov

  • Spent nuclear fuel completely removed from reactors at the Ignalina NPP
  • Major decommissioning milestone for the EBRD-managed IIDSF
  • Support from the EU and 14 European governments

International efforts to assist Lithuania with the decommissioning of its only nuclear power plant (NPP) have reached an important milestone today, with the last of the spent fuel being removed from the reactors at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP).

The European Union and 14 European governments have supported the work through the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund (IIDSF), which is managed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The final cask – the special container used to store spent nuclear fuel safely and securely – was transferred to the Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility (ISFSF), bringing the total number of casks stored there to 190, loaded with 15,555 spent fuel assemblies from the INPP reactors and storage ponds. All Lithuanian safety requirements are being met, as are EU standards and recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Completion of this stage is a key development in the overall decommissioning programme for Ignalina reactors 1 and 2.

Welcoming the achievement, EBRD Director of Nuclear Safety, Balthasar Lindauer, commented: “This milestone is a testament to the longstanding collaboration between the EBRD, Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant and the government of Lithuania. Our partnership, delivered in close collaboration with the European Union as a major donor to the IIDSF, has supported the construction and implementation of a range of complex decommissioning facilities. We look forward to maintaining this unique partnership to ensure the long-term aims of final decommissioning can be achieved safely and on time.”

Lithuania closed the Soviet RBMK-1500, graphite-moderated nuclear reactors at the INPP in 2004 and 2009 as part of its commitments to EU accession.

The ISFSF was opened in October 2016 and is administered through the IIDSF.

The EBRD-managed IIDSF is supported by the European Union, which has provided 96 per cent of the contributions, and Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

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