The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Lithuania deal to dismantle Soviet-era nuclear reactors could be world first

Pamela Largue , January 9, 2023

Two contracts have been signed to plan the dismantling and waste management for the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant in Lithuania.

The first of two four-year contracts was signed with a consortium led by Westinghouse Electric Spain, including Jacobs Slovakia, and Lithuanian Energy Institute.

The second contract was signed with another consortium led by the French company Electricite de France.

The dismantling services will be provided in two phases. The first will see contractors propose engineering solutions for dismantling the reactor.

The engineering design concept will be assessed and then further developed in consultation with stakeholders, namely the European Commission, Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania, CPVA (Central Project Management Agency) and VATESI (State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate).

Audrius Kamienas, director general of the Ignalina plant, said in a statement that the signing of the contracts is an important milestone, as dismantling the reactor core is the most challenging part of the decommissioning.

“There are only a few examples of graphite reactors being dismantled in the world today, but the RBMK reactor type has never been dismantled before.

“This is an extremely complex task, unprecedented in the world, for which preparatory work will continue for several more years.”

Physical dismantling of the reactor will commence in 2028 and will be funded by the EU Ignalina Programme.

Graphite-moderated reactor

Dismantling two of the most powerful RBMK reactors is believed to be a decommissioning first.

According to the World Nuclear Association, Soviet-designed RBMK (reaktor bolshoy moshchnosty kanalny, high-power channel reactor) is a water-cooled reactor with individual fuel channels and uses graphite as its moderator.

Ignalina could be the first graphite-moderated reactor plant to be dismantled, making it an important test bed for methodologies that could be used to decommission others of the same type, such as the UK’s Magnox and advanced gas-cooled reactors, which also have graphite cores.

Jacobs Energy, Security & Technology senior vice president Karen Wiemelt, commented: “Our teams based in the UK, France and Slovakia are applying decommissioning skills acquired through work on some of the world’s most complex and challenging nuclear sites including Sellafield and Fukushima.”

In 2002, the Lithuanian government decided to shut down Ignalina NPP, which supplied up to 88% of the country’s electricity.


January 9, 2023 - Posted by | decommission reactor, EUROPE

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: