Lithuania found place for underground repository for spent nuclear fuel

Publish date: March 23, 2005

The specialists found the proper geological horizon for the construction of the underground reporsitiry for spent nuclear fuel from the Ignalina NPP.

The Lithuanian and Swedish experts from SKB concluded in the 4-year research project that construction of the repository and placing the spent nuclear fuel would cost Lithuania about $3.4 billion. The press-secretary of the Lithuanian Radioactive Waste Management Agency Ruta Jarasuniene said to Baltic News Service (BNS), that the Swedish specialists believe the proper place for the facility is the territory around Ignalina NPP and Lithuanian towns Varena and Alytus. There are no specific plans regarding construction or financing at the moment.

The SNF is stored in the containers at the Ignalina NPP since 1999, where it can be stored temporarily, but no longer than for 50-60 years. Lithuania has to know for certain how this waste will be disposed of afterwards. Currently, three options are under consideration: the waste could be buried in Lithuania, transported to other states or Lithuania could cooperate with other countries and build a regional repository.

It is estimated that about 2.5 tonnes of the SNF will be collected by 2010, BNS reported.

Lithuania pledged the EU to decommission the Ignalina second unit in 2009. Despite millions of dollars invested in the safety of the Chernobyl-type reactors at Ignalina, they are still considered dangerous. The first Ignalina reactor was shut down on December 31, 2004, the second one is in operation.