Ignalina (Lithuania)

Map of Ignalina

Map Loading...

2 RBMK reactors constructed by MTM, one shut down in 2004
The reactors of the Ignalina NPP have a design capacity of 1500 MW with a design thermal rating of 4800 MW. In August 1991 it was decided on the basis of calculations to decrease the thermal rating limit for RBMK-1500 to 4200 MW.
Lithuania agreed as a condition on its EU accession treaty to shut the two RBMK plants. Ignalina-1 was closed in 2004, Ignalina-2 will follow at the end of 2009.

The construction of a new reactor at the site is planned, currently a environmental impact assessment is carried out.

Facilities in Ignalina

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
Ignalina-1RBMK 1300197719832004
Ignalina-2RBMK 1300197819872008

"In accordance with the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), 2 of the events in 2007 were rated as level 1,
4 as level 0, and  ve were out of the scale"
(source: annual report of Ignalina)


"In accordance with the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), 2 of the events in 2007 were rated as level 1,
4 as level 0, and  ve were out of the scale"
(source: annual report of Ignalina)


"In accordance with the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), 2 of the events in 2007 were rated as level 1,
4 as level 0, and  ve were out of the scale"
(source: annual report of Ignalina)


"In accordance with the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), 2 of the events in 2007 were rated as level 1,
4 as level 0, and  ve were out of the scale"
(source: annual report of Ignalina)


New nuclear power plant for Ignalina ?

Lietuvos Energija AB has initiated an EIA procedure for investigating the environmental impacts of a new NPP in Lithuania. The plant would be located in the vicinity of the present Ignalina nuclear power plant. The net electrical output of the new nuclear power plant would be at most 3 400 MW. The plant is planned as a replacement for Ignalina units 1 and 2.

By publishing the Final Report "Environmental Impact Assessment Program- New Nuclear Power Plant in Lithuania" on July 7, 2007 Lithuania stared the Scoping Phase of the EIA prcedure.

Two alternative sites for the power plant unit will be evaluated in the environmental impact assessment. Alternative site 1 is situated east of the unit 2 of the present power plant and alternative site 2 is situated west of the existing switchyard. The alternative locations of the cooling water outlet and inlet channels for the new power plant will be assessed as part of the studies and presented in EIA report. As a zero-option, the non-implementation of the project will be assessed.

The National Energy Strategy (Lithuania Parliament Decision No. X-1046 dated 18 January 2007, State News Nr. 11-430, 2007) of Lithuania identified as a main tasks “to ensure the continuity and development of safe nuclear energy; to put into operation a new regional nuclear power plant not later than by 2015 in order to satisfy the needs of the Baltic countries and the region”.

According to the final report "Environmental Impact Assessment Program - New Nuclear Power Plant in Lithuania" published at July 12,2007: The NPP project organisation has no mandate to compare alternative options with nuclear NPP. "Other options to generate the electricity would be by using other energy sources as coal, natural gas, peat, biofuels, hydropower or wind power. However, the nuclear power plant project organisation, and later project company, has been established for constructing and operating a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania and therefore does not have a mandate or possibilities to construct any other kind of power plants. If another company or organisation should begin to develop such power plants, the environmental impacts of them would be assessed as a part of those projects. Thus impacts of alternative forms of electricity production in Lithuania will not be assessed in this EIA-process."

As a part of the environmental impact assessment, possibilities to use the existing Ignalina NPP infrastructure related to environmental monitoring, transportation, storage facilities, electricity transmission lines, cold and water supply and so on will be evaluated and reported in the EIA report.

The EIA procedure is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2008. It is planned that at least the first unit of the new nuclear power plant would be in operation not later than 2015. Typical construction time of a new NPP unit is 4–5 years and operation time is 60 years or even more.


In accordance with the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), 12 of the total of the 19 events of 2006 were out of the scale, and another 6 were rated as level 0. One event that occurred at the Ignalina NPP in March, when a fuel channel dropped in the central hall of unit 1 during a transportation operation was evaluated as level 1 by an independent panel convened at VATESI’s insistence.
Most of the events (11) in 2006 were caused by the personnel errors, and another 8 by malfunctioning of equipment.
(source: http://www.vatesi.lt/index.php?id=10&L=1, annual report of Igalina NPP)


In accordance with the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), 12 of the total of the 19 events of 2006 were out of the scale, and another 6 were rated as level 0. One event that occurred at the Ignalina NPP in March, when a fuel channel dropped in the central hall of unit 1 during a transportation operation was evaluated as level 1 by an independent panel convened at VATESI’s insistence.
Most of the events (11) in 2006 were caused by the personnel errors, and another 8 by malfunctioning of equipment.
(source: http://www.vatesi.lt/index.php?id=10&L=1, annual report of Igalina NPP)


Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant signed a contract with the German GNS - RWE NUKEM Consortium for design and construction of a Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility (SNFS) which will be used to store 18000 fuel assemblies from both units. The contract value is 92,7 million Euros.


Unit one of the Ignalina nuclear power plant was shut down permanently on 31st December 2004. The Lithuanian government approved the closure in November 2004 in accordance with the conditions of the country's entry into the EU. 5000 workers are affected by the shut-down.
For decommissioning of unit one 240 million Euro have been granted. The EU Commission has announced a total of 290 million Euro until 2006 and from 2007 to 2013 another 810 million Euro.
Lithuania considers construction of an EPR at Ignalina. Especially the French firm Areva is interested in this option, France has announced to support Lithuania if a new npp is constructed.


In 2004 at both units in Ignalina 12 events rated level 0 at the INES scale have occured.


In 2003 at both units in Ignalina 16 events rated level 0 and one event rated level 1 at the INES scale have occured.


In 2002 at both units in Ignalina 32 events rated level 0 and 2 events rated level 1 at the INES scale have occured.


Lithuania agreed to the demand of the European Union to close Ignalina. Ignalina 1 has to be shut down before 2005, Ignalina 2 in 2009. Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas said the decision of his country is based on the fact that the European Union had agreed to long-term financial aids. The costs of 2,4 billion Euro for the disconnection - estimated by the Lithuanian Ministry of Economic Affairs will be the basis for negotiation.


The cabinet approved draft amendments to the law on nuclear energy that would change the legal status of the Ignalina nuclear-power plant. The amendments, which will be sent to parliament for approval, would restructure the state-run company into a closed joint-stock entity with the government as its sole owner. They are intended to help solve the current legal contradictions between the Civil Code and other laws and international commitments of Lithuania, as well as boost the country's ability to solve problems related to financing, administration, and nuclear safety. Noting that it is not the practice in Western Europe for a state company to be in charge of nuclear safety, the European Commission has urged Lithuania to change the status of the Ignalina plant. The amendments were prepared in accordance with legal practices in the European Union, the Convention on Nuclear Safety, and the requirements of the Energy Charter Treaty, as well as with recommendations by the Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association


During a nuclear waste transport at Ignalina a container with radioactive waste got a leak. This incident was labeled level 1 at the INES scale.


In 2001 at both units in Ignalina 23 events rated level 0 and 3 events rated level 1 at the INES scale have occured.


Lithuanian government developed a decomissioning program for Ignalina-1. This is part of an agreement with the EBRD which will finance the decomissioning.
Ignalina-1 is supposed to be finally shutdown in 2005.
An important step is to create jobs for the 5000 people working at the NPP.


An IAEA working group has critizised the safety systems at Ignalina. Responsibilies for emergencies were not regulated, systematical investigations and assessments of human errors have not been made. Data were not available, documentations lacking.


In 2000 at both units in Ignalina 27 events rated level 0 and 1 event rated level 1 at the INES scale have occured.


In 1999 at both units in Ignalina 27 events rated level 0 at the INES scale have occured.


In October the Commission secured commitments from Lithuania to decommission its facility at Ignalina by 2009.


Lithuania, pledged to close down the oldest of its two reactors at the controversial Ignalina NPP before 2005 in return for "substantial long-term financial assistance" in restructuring the country's energy sector.

Ignalina has long been a bone of contention between the Commission and Lithuania, which is seeking to join the"first wave" of applicants pushing to join the EU within the next four years.

In April, western European nuclear regulators pronounced that the plant had "fundamental weaknesses" that could not be resolved.

Funding to compensate for the lost generation capacity will come from the EU, G7 and financial institutions to
be sought at a donors' conference in Vilnius once the strategy is approved. It is not yet clear whether Lithuania will seek to build further nuclear plants with the aid.


In 1998 at both units in Ignalina 20 events rated level 0 and 2 events rated level 1 at the INES scale have occured.


A hig-level advisory group recommended in a report to the European Commission last week that the EU press for closure of Ignalina-1 without rechanneling but said the EU should also support decommissioning efforts.
Ignalina-2 can continue to run for seven or eight years.
If the 1,500 MW RBMK is shut in 2001, he said Lithuania could manage with the second Ignalina unit and its non-nuclear plants.
But officials have since sought to renegotiate with the bank and the EU. The plant supplies up to 90% of Lithuania´s electricity at low cost. Replacement power would be more expensive and there would also be multi-million dollar decommissioning costs which Lithuanian officials say the country can´t pay. They also want to keep the reactors running because they see increased possibilities for electricity export, paid for with hard currency, when grids around the Baltic Sea are linked.


The Lithuanians want to keep the two 1,500-MW RBMK units operating until 2020, but EU officials want them shut down as soon as possible and have made it clear that shutdown dates are a key issue in Lithuania´s negotiations for EU membership.
The Institute´s report claims an early shutdown would result in increased electricity and other economic costs totalling between 5,2 - and 9,1-billion (U.S $ 2,28-billion) litas to 2020 (in 1996 values). The estimates assume that the two 1,500-MW RBMKs would be closed after only 17 years of operation - in 2005 for unit 1 and 2010 for unit 2.


Lithuania's top nuclear regulator says he does not have sufficient technical information to say exactly when the two Ignalina RBMKs will become unsafe to operate. Thermal and radiation stresses in normal operation warp the fuel-bearing pressure channels and eventually narrow the gap with the graphite moderator, until operation is no longer safe. Research is being done at Ignalina on the gap problem. As part of an ECU 33-million EBRD grant for safety improvements at Ignalina the government agreed not to replace the channels at either unit because of an eventual early shutdown. Lithuania had also agreed that licensing of Ignalina-1 would be completed by the end of June this year. Ignalina is down for maintenance, but operators were not able to determine the extent of cracking in 300-millimeter pipe welds in the core cooling system. Western experts think the cracking may be generic to RBMKs.


One hundred U.S analog-to-relay conversion modules were delivered to Ignalina-2 .They were manufactured by NUS Instruments in Idaho Falls. Another 200 modules which will be manufactured at the Center for Electromagnetic Compatibility in Lithuania using U.S. technology are slated for delivery in September. The upgraded safety equipment will continuously monitor critical plant safety parameters and trigger protective actions, when necessary. U.S. involvement in this safety upgrade cost $200-million.


The second reactor unit at Ignalina was shut down due to a leakage in the reactor cooling system.


In 1997 at both units in Ignalina 132 events rated level 0 and 3 events rated level 1 at the INES scale have occured.


Lithuanian security officials said on Thursday that they had seized around 70 kg of radioactive uranium stolen from the Baltic state's Ignalina NPP five years ago.
Officials seized 20 kg of nuclear fuel on Tuesday near Ignalina and another 50 kg near the capital Vilnius on Wednesday.
The seizures are part of a haul of 100 kg of nuclear fuel stolen from Ignalina in 1992. Most of the uranium has now been recovered and officials believe the rest has been sold.


Ignalina to get $ 25-million in improvements this summer:
The Lithuanian government and Western donors have agreed on a 100-million-lita package for this year's safety improvement work at the Ignalina NP.
Lithuania will fund 80% of the work through energy tariffs. Some 20% will come from a combination of European Bank for Reconstruction & Development aid and bilateral agreements with Sweden, the US, and Japan.
Next year, plans call for foreign aid to be provided primarily in the form of improvement work and equipment. The Lithuanian government will also include some money for safety improvements in the 1998 budget, depending on what foreigners provide in kind.
The latest safety improvement program at Ignalina is based on recommendation sin a massive three-part safety analysis by Lithuanian and foreign experts, released earlier this year. The total cost of the recommended measures is estimated at $120-million, including installation of secondary shutdown systems at both units. It remains to be decided whether such a system will be installed at both units or only at Ignalina-2.


The No 1 reactor at the Ignalina nuclear power station will be put back into operation after routine maintenance, in spite of recommendations by international experts not to do so until the safety of the reactor has been improved.
The reactor is to be shut down on 1st April for a 70-day period of regular maintenance. The report quoted a state nuclear safety official as saying that he was not aware of any reason why it should be shut down for good. The official said millions of dollars had already been invested in the safety of the reactor and that work on further improvements to the electronic systems was currently being carried out.
After considerable improvements over the last 10 years, the Ignalina nuclear power reactors are described as the safest reactors among Soviet made RBMK-type reactors currently in operation.
A report by an international expert commission made public in London on 24th March recommended that the reactor should be shut down and not be put back into operation, on the grounds that the nuclear power station was not sufficiently safe, the report said.


An independent panel of safety experts has recommended that neither of the two units at the INPP in Lithuania should be restarted after the planned 1997 shutdown for maintenance until important safety issues in design and operation are resolved. The panel, commissioned by the Lithuanian government and the EBRD on behalf of the Nuclear Safety Account (NSA), mad its recommendations based on an in-depth safety assessment of INPP completed in December 1996.
It is a major contribution to the licensing process currently being undertaken by the Lithuanian regulatory authority.
No significant differences were identified between units 1 and 2.


Shutdown caused by a leak in RCS.


Lithuania's Ignalina-1 RBMK began a 100-day maintenance outage April 6, and the long-delayed installation of a pressure relief pipe to help the unit withstand more fuel channel ruptures is expected to begin in about a month.
Liability problems repeatedly delayed the pipe installation. Even after Lithuania signed the Vienna Convention, governing third-party liability in an accident with off-site consequences, neighboring countries also had to agree to the convention.
Until the liability issue was resolved, ABB Atom would not deliver the tool. From a technical standpoint, Lithuanian and Swedish experts say the pressure relief pipe could have been installed two years ago.
Installation of the pipe on the bubble tower is intended to mitigate Ignalia-1´s lack of containment. Pressure relief will allow the unit to withstand 12, instead of nine, channel ruptures.
Seperately, testing of channel seal rings is scheduled to resume April 20 at Ignalia-2. The seals, developed by US defense contractor Advanced Products, are intended to prevent leakage at the top of the reactor channels, a chronic problem in RBMKs.
"Sealing is a more difficult problem than we thought," Troshin, head of the International Projects Department in Ignalia, said. Each ring consists of two silver outer rings that fit over a stainless-steel inner ring. The entire unit is designed to lock together and lock over the fuel channels. Some (US)$ 500-million has been paid for the rings, part of an ECU 33-million grant from the European Bank for Reconstruction $ Development.


A partially empty rod from a fuel assembly missing from Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear plant has been recovered close to the plant by authorities, some three years after the assembly's disappearance was discovered.
One person is under arrest in connection with the incident, and more arrests are likely.
The rod was found March 8 by a team of police and state security forces. It was shallowly buried, roughly 15 kilometers from Ignalina in the town of Visiginas.
In December 1994, authorities arrested three people in a sting operation during which one man tried to sell 8 kg of uranium believed to be from the missing assembly.
The fuel assembly, which weighs 280 kg and contains more than 100 kg U, was discovered missing during a routine fuel inventory at the plant in early 1993. Ignalina had no system for tracking fuel.


Lithuanian authorities believe the rest of a fuel assembly missing from the Ignalina station may be buried near the plant, but must wait until spring when the ground thaws to investigate.
Last week, a fuel rod believed to be from the assembly was found about 15 kilometers from the plant. The rod contained 2,7 kilograms of uranium, instead of the slightly more then 3 kilograms that a full rod would have, said the director of safeguards and physical protection for the Lithuanian Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate. It appears that some fuel pellets were removed from each end, he said.
The Authorities still do not know how the fuel could have been removed from the plant.


The long-delayed installation of a pressure relief pipe at Lithuania's Ignalina-1 is now scheduled for this spring's annual maintenance outage. Robotics installation equipment designed and made by ABB Atom AB, which has been waiting for shipment to the site for at least two years, will be shipped shortly.
Work is also underway to completely renovate the plant's main entrance, improve perimeter security and put together a decommissioning plan for Ignalina-1 and -2, both 1.500-MW RBMKs.
A Lithuanian court has ordered the Lithuanian State Power System (LSPS), the plant's major customer, to pay the Ignalina plant an accumulated 200-million litas (US $ 50-million) in outstanding electricity bills over the course of the year. The victory could be hollow, since LSPS has no money.
Planning for installation of the pressure relief pipe from the confinement began more than three years ago but has been repeatedly delayed by legal liability problems.
Such guarantees involved not only Lithuania's signing the Vienna Convention on liability.
While safety improvement work moves forward, the Lithuanians have started planning for the plant's eventual decommissioning.
As a condition of a safety improvement grant from the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD), Lithuania agreed not to replace the pressure channels at the two units, which would effectively mean their shutdown early next century.


In recent weeks there have been several small occurrences at the plant. On November 22 fast acting valves between the emergency core cooling pressurized tanks and the reactor at Ignalina-2 spontaneously opened. Some 12 tons of water were released. An operator noticed that the valves had opened and shut them. The incident was rated level 1 on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). On November 23, the unit scrammed after pressure increased in a leak-tight reactor compartment. According to the INES report, "there are reasons to assume that the fast-acting scram system responded to a failure of some protection logic element." The incident was given a level 0 rating.


A fire in the turbine hall was easily extinguished by operators, after leaking oil ignited.
The turbine was manually tripped after the oil, which was leaking from a 10-millimeter pipe in the turbine control system, ignited.
Although not serious, the incident points up the need for improved fire protection at the station. The problem has been a critical one for several years, but it was only earlier this month that Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall signed a 7.8-million kronor ( US$1.18-million) contract for new fire protection equipment. Improvements are planned in seven sections of the plant, including the emergency core cooling system pump rooms and the control room.
Jan Nistad, director of the Swedish International Project which has been spearheading efforts at Ignalina, said he expects that within two to four weeks a supplier will be chosen to replace 200 to 300 fire doors at the plant. Plastic floor covering will also be removed. It will either be replaced with a fire-retardant covering, or the floors will be painted with fire-proof epoxy.


Shutdown because of a bomb threat. Search for explosives showed no evidence of any bombs.
Restart after 2 days of investigations.


Generator fault caused shutdown (1 day).


Shutdown because of a steam leak, which led to increase of radioactivity in a compartment. Cause of the leak was a worn-out gasket in a control valve.


Leak in RCS: small amount of radioactive water escaped but was contained inside the plant. Cause was probably a faulty pipe weld.


160 of 220 faulty welds in pressure tubes are to be repaired. The welds are all towards the tops of the pressure tubes.


Shutdown after operators detected an increase of radioactivity in the drum separator compartment and a primary steam leak of about 150 liters per hour: 10 mm crack in the elbow of a steam water pipe connected to the drum separator. Ar-41 release into the reactor building below the limit (22.000 GBq per day).


Rupture of a small diameter pipe (diameter:10 mm) by very strong vibrations. The pipe was used to measure water pressure near the main feed pump. Leak was unisolable because of its location - shutdown.


A radioactive gas leak occured when a 10 mm pipe connected to a valve in the core cooling system exploded. About 3500 GBq of radioactive gas were released (limit 23.000 GBq/hour).


578 welding defects have been found in the upper sections of fuel channels (i.e. 35% of the 1661 channels have cracks or defective welds) - welds are a weak point of the zirconium -niobium RBMK pressure tubes. The defects are similar to those that have been discovered at Sos.Bor-3 -& 4 and Chernobyl-3.