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Dismantle of Soviet-era nuclear reactors in Lithuania can begin

A consortium comprising Westinghouse Electric Spain, Jacobs and the Lithuanian Energy Institute was selected to plan the dismantling and waste management at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) in Lithuania.

Soviet-designed 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 the UK’s Magnox and advanced gas-cooled reactors, which also have graphite cores.

“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,” said Audrius Kamienas, Director General of the INPP. “This is an extremely complex task, unprecedented in the world, for which preparatory work will continue for several more years.”

“I am delighted that we will have highly qualified experts involved in both project management and technical decision-making, whose advice will help us to achieve the best possible result and contribute to the success of this extremely important project,” he added, mentioning also the French enterprise Bureau Veritas Exploitation which has won an international tender launched by the INPP on 15 June 2022 for the provision of consultancy services on reactor dismantling.

In 2002, the Lithuanian government decided to shut down Ignalina NPP, which supplied up to 88 per cent of the country’s electricity. The physical dismantling of the reactor will commence in 2028 and will be funded by the EU Ignalina Programme.

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