On April 5, Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) received a visit by a delegation from the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament (EP). The purpose of the visit of the delegation was to assess the progress in INPP decommissioning and efficiency of the use of financial support from the European Union (EU).
According to Lina Sabaitienė, Vice Minister of Energy, the visit is an important opportunity for Lithuania not only to demonstrate its determination and progress in executing the commitment to the EU to decommission the Ignalina NPP, but also to disclose the added value generated by the financial support from and cooperation with the EU in the context of the ongoing negotiations on the further decommissioning process of the INPP.
“Last time, a delegation from the Committee on Budgetary Control of the European Parliament visited Lithuania in 2012, so we are glad to be able to demonstrate the breakthrough in the decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP that has taken place since then. We hope that cooperation between Lithuania and the EU and compliance with mutual obligations will allow ensuring that continuous progress also in the future and developing unique competencies and technologies in addressing nuclear safety issue of the whole EU. Particularly, given the unique challenge we are in for and the Lithuania and the EU’s joint objective of safely dismantling the reactors. It is very important that all of us understand that this work, once started, can no longer be stopped halfway, and this requires guaranteed continuous funding”, said Ms Sabaitienė.
During a meeting and discussion held at the INPP, the delegation was given a presentation on the progress in the decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP, which was achieved owing to stable EU and national funding and close cooperation. The most important future activities were discussed with emphasis on the necessity of further continuous EU support for them to be carried out. Other issues addressed were those of importance to the members of the delegation: funds use efficiency, price and project management control, planning and progress measurement.
“Huge progress has been made in the implementation of Ignalina NPP decommissioning projects. Work is going on as scheduled, and EU investments and state budget resources are focused on direct decommissioning activities. All this allows ensuring maximum efficiency in the use of funds”, said Loreta Maskaliovienė, Vice Minister of Finance.
In the presentation on the progress in the decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP, it was noted that the most important achievements included the completion of the unloading of nuclear fuel from the reactor, successful operation of the Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility (Project B1), and advancement of the Solid Waste Management and Storage Facility Project (B2/3/4) into its final phase.
Andrius Kamienas, Acting Manager of the Ignalina NPP, noted that the achieved work progress allows claiming that an irreversible stage in decommissioning has been reached. However, in the near future Lithuania is to face a major technological challenge – unique operations for the dismantling of graphite reactors.
During the visit, the members of the delegation examined the turbine hall and the Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility of the Ignalina NPP, where they could take a close look at the ongoing work progress and radioactive waste management infrastructure.
The meeting with the delegation from the EP’s Committee on Budgetary Control was also attended by representatives of the European Commission, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Central Project Management Agency, the Office of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, and Michail Demčenko, Head of the State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate.