Map of Lithuania

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Energy generation in Lithuania

Energy mix

Lithuania has rather limited energy resources. The share of the local primary energy resources (wood, peat, wind, solar, geothermal, small scale hydropower, secondary energy) in the total energy balance is just a few per cent.

Nuclear power plants

In Ignalina the last operating nuclear power plant, Ignalina-2, was shut down by the end of 2009. In 2005 about 70% of Lithuania's energy was generated by Ignalina-2.
In 2003 Lithuania has promised the European Union to shut down Ignalina's first unit after accession to the EU (2004), and unit 2 up to 2009.
The construction of unit three was abandoned a short time after it had begun.

Developments in the nuclear sector

2009, Nov, 2: Contract for LLW and ILW waste repository in Ignalina

"A consortium led by France's Areva has been awarded a contract to design a near-surface repository for low- and intermediate-level waste (LLW/ILW) at Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear power plant.

The repository will accommodate the LLW/ILW resulting from the operation and decommissioning of Ignalina. It will be built according to the same concept as the CSFMA, a French LLW/ILW disposal facility in Soulaines-Dhuys, Aube District, which has been operated by the French national radioactive waste management agency Andra since 1992.

The project, which is being funded primarily by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), includes the design studies for the repository and on-site support during construction.

Apart from Areva, the consortium comprises Andra and three Lithuanian partners: the Lithuanian Energy Institute, Specialus Montazas-NTP and Pramprojektas.

A concept of the LLW/ILW disposal facility has been developed and approved by regulating authorities in Lithuania. According to this concept, it is planned to construct a reinforced concrete repository of the celled type, which will contain some 50 sections designed for the final disposal of about 100,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste packed in concrete containers and immobilized in the cement matrix. The repository, its protection zones and auxiliary structures will occupy an area of some 40 hectares at a site at Stabatiske, very close to the Ignalina plant.

Wastes will be placed in the repository through to around 2030, when dismantling of the Ignalina reactors and processing of all the radioactive waste is expected to be completed. The repository will then be closed and its surface covered with corrosion-resistant, multilayer protective engineered barriers. The repository will then be monitored for at least 300 years.

The wastes themselves will primarily be contaminated equipment and disposable clothing from the operation the two reactors at Ignalina. When the power plant itself is decommissioned over coming decades most of the resulting wastes would at be low- and intermediate-level and would also be stored in the new facility. This waste would typically be concrete rubble, used filters and piping that had been closer to the nuclear reaction processes. As short-lived waste it would lose almost all of its radioactivity over a few years to a few decades.

In September, the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (Vatesi) issued the Ignalina plant with a licence to construct an interim storage facility for fuel from the Ignalina plant. The licence would also allow the plant to install ancillary equipment for management of used fuel in the plant's reactors. In late-August, Vatesi granted Ignalina a licence to build solid radioactive waste treatment and storage facilities at the site.

The Ignalina plant houses two 1500 MWe Soviet-designed RBMK reactors. Lithuania agreed to shut down the two reactors as a condition of its entry into the European Union. The EU has agreed to pay decommissioning costs and some compensation through to 2013. Unit 1 was shut down at the end of 2004, while unit 2 is scheduled to shut down at the end of this year. That will leave the only operating RBMK reactors in Russia."


2009, Sept, 3: Two waste facilities to be built at Lithuania's Ignalina site.

"The State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (Vatesi) today issued the Ignalina plant with a licence to construct an interim storage facility for used RBMK-1500 fuel from units 1 and 2. The licence would also allow the plant to install ancillary equipment for management of used fuel in the plant's reactors. Last week, Vatesi granted Ignalina a licence to build solid radioactive waste treatment and storage facilities at the site.

Vatesi said that it had issued both licences under certain preconditions that will have to be fulfilled prior to the beginning of operation of the facilities. For both projects, the plant must ensure physical protection and install security equipment at the construction site. It must also demonstrate that the contractor has enough qualified workers to perform specific operations.

A precondition of the licence for the used fuel storage facility is that, by September 2010, Ignalina must prepare and receive approval for a separate project dedicated to manage 'untight' and mechanically damaged fuel.

The Ignalina plant signed a contract with the GNS-Nukem consortium of Germany in January 2005 for the design and construction of the interim used fuel storage facility. A further contract was signed with Nukem in November 2005 for the design, construction and commissioning of the solid waste facility.

The used fuel storage facility is scheduled to be commissioned in 2011 and will store the bulk of the used fuel that has accumulated over the course of the plant's operation. Some 18,000 fuel assemblies from Ignalina 1 and 2 will be stored in a total of 202 metal and concrete Constor containers at the facility for fifty years."

2009, May 1: Environmental OK for Visaginas nuclear plant

Plans to build a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania have received approval from the country's Ministry of Environment.

The decision covers a potential new nuclear plant with a capacity of up to 3400 MWe - enough for three reactors, or two of the very largest.

It comes after government analysis of an environmental impact assessment which covered the potential impacts of such a plant on public health, socio-economic conditions, biological diversity, surface water, climate and air quality, the sub-soil and landscape as well as cultural heritage.

Visaginas would be a new nuclear site alongside the existing Ignalina nuclear power plant, which hosts two large Russian RBMK reactors. One of the units is shut down, while the other is set for closure at the end of this year under an agreement with the EU. The new plant would replace the lost domestic generation capacity and power exports which Lithuania has enjoyed since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

The project is being undertaken by the Visaginas Nuclear Plant project company, which is 100% held by Lithuanian Electricity Organization (LEO LT), itself held by Lietuvos Energija, RST and the privately-owned NDX Energija, owner of grid company VST AB.

At some point in the future, LEO LT will offer partners from Latvia and Estonia the opportunity to take stakes in the Visaginas company, although LEO LT will retain 51%.

International operation

The program of the assessment was approved in November 2007 and some 11 state and municipal authorities then took part in coordinating the report, led by Finnish consultants Poyry Energy Oy and the Lithuanian Energy Institute. Around 80 experts were involved on individual part of the report.

The finished document was presented to seven other countries, while special consultation took place with neighbouring Belarus, Latvia and Poland as well as Austria.

2009, April: NGOs file appeal against EIA

The NGOs Atgaja (Lithuania), Latvian Green Movement (Alda Ozola), CEE Bankwatch and Greenpeace filed an appeal against the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment report by the Lithuanian Ministry of Environment. The appeal was filed with the Administrative Court of Vilnius.

The key objections, which are partially based on a study by the Austrian Institute of Ecology, ordered by the Austrian Lebensministerium, in the appeal are:
Link to the Austrian study:

- The EIA did not contain alternatives as prescribed by the Lithuanian EIA law, the EU Directive on EIA and the Aarhus Convention.

- The EIA does not adequately address the amounts of radioactivity emitted by the NPP, it especially underestimates the amount of emissions during a severe accident.

- The EIA does not address decommissioning and waste storage, although this is prescribed explicitly by the Lithuanian EIA law.

- The EIA does not contain a proper zero analysis.

The appeal was submitted by Nerijus Stukas of Baranauskas, Sesickas, Stukas and partners, representing lawyer for the four NGOs.

(source: Jan Haverkamp)

2009, March: Change in plans for financing new NPP

Lithuania has decided to hold a tender to find a strategic investor from abroad to help build a new nuclear power plant by 2018, the government said on Thursday, in a change of strategy.

The former centre-left government last year formed a national company, LEO LT, to finance the project along with the other two Baltic states and Poland, but the centre-right coalition now in power has changed its mind.

"I doubt LEO LT is capable of building the plant. None of the four countries involved have expertise to do so, therefore we need to get the strategic investor," Energy Minister Arvydas Sekmokas told journalists.

"A tender to choose the strategic investor could be announced by the end of this year after we draw up a business plan," he added.

Sekmokas said the potential strategic partners could be Finnish Fortum (FUM1V.HE: Quote, Profile, Research), Swedish Vattenfall [VATN.UL], French EDF (EDF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), German RWE (RWEG.DE: Quote, Profile, Research) or E.ON (EONGn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research).

"I have had talks with some of them and there is an obvious interest," he said.

Estonia, Latvia and Poland have been expected to join the project for a new nuclear power plant, but no formal agreements have been reached so far.

Poland said it would participate in the project if it receives no less than 1,000 MW of power.

Lithuania, an EU and NATO member state since 2004, is still a part of the electricity system of the former Soviet Union, with no direct links to Europe, except to Finland via Estonia.

The minister declined to disclose the capacity of the new nuclear power plant or its units saying that should be negotiated during the tender process.

"Our goal (for the new plant) remains 2018, but we don't have a clear plan yet ... We have to find a strong investor this year," he added. (Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; Editing by Keiron Henderson)
(source: out of world nuclear news)

2008: EIA about new NPP in Ignalia

The construction of a new NPP in Lithuania was long discussed extensively in the country and abroad - in 2008 the environmental impact assessment about the NPP with two reactors was finished. Originally, the Baltic countries Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania planned to share the new NPP, later Lithuania also brought in Poland. The decision of the government is still open.
Read more about Austria's official statement about the EIA in Lithuania:

Sites With Nuclear Facilities

siteplantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
IgnalinaIgnalina-1RBMK 1300197719832004
Ignalina-2RBMK 1300197819872008
Ignalina-3LWGR 15001985