Nuclear energy in Lithuania
In Lithuania in 1978, construction began on two RBMK reactors (1,380 MWe net) with 30-year lives for the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. The light-water, graphite-moderated reactors were of similar design as those at Chernobyl. The nuclear power plant began operating in 1983. The first reactor was decommissioned in 2004 and the second one in 2009. Originally, Lithuania built these reactors to export electricity to its neighbours, with 42% of electricity exported in 1989. This number fell through the 1990s as domestic demand increased.
In 1994, Lithuania accepted US$36.8 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development's Nuclear Safety Account to improve safety at the Ignalina site. Under the grant, both the reactors had to be closed within 15–20 years. Moreover, in order to join the EU, Lithuania had to decommission one reactor immediately and the second by 2009. The EU agreed to pay for decommissioning costs and some compensation through 2013. Strong public opposition followed, because of fear for electricity price hikes.
In 2006, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian power companies carried out the feasibility study for construction of the new nuclear power plant in Lithuania to replace existing Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, scheduled to be shut down in 2009. The study shows that the nuclear power plant project is feasible.
The Radioactive Waste Management Agency, established in 2001, is responsible for disposal of all radioactive waste from Ignalina during operation and decommissioning. A site near the plant has been identified for storage of low and intermediate-level waste. According to the World Nuclear Association, the Lithuanian government is in the process of building a permanent repository, to be completed in 2015.
- “Nuclear Power in Lithuania.” World Nuclear Association. February 2008. < http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf109.html>
- "Nuclear Power Plant Project in Lithuania is Feasible. Press release". Lietuvos Energija. 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2007-07-13.