Options of waste disposal


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Options of Waste Disposal

The Ignalina NPP is the only nuclear power plant in Lithuania and it is under decommissioning. Two RBMK-1500 type reactors were constructed at the Ignalina NPP. Unit 1 was commissioned in 1983 and Unit 2 in 1987. Unit 1 was shut down in 2004 and Unit 2 in 2009.

The radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel from the Ignalina NPP are currently in interim storage facilities of the plant. It is temporary decision. Radioactive Waste Management Agency (RATA) is responsible for finding a solution for final disposal of the spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive waste in Lithuania.

The spent nuclear fuel is stored in casks of CASTOR and CONSTOR type in interim dry type storage facilities. The spent nuclear fuel can be stored in the casks for 50 years, afterwards it will have to be taken to the final disposal site. However, its location and technical specifications will be considered in the future.

Metal-concrete CONSTOR cask with spent nuclear fuel at the interim storage facility

The estimated approximate quantities of spent nuclear fuel and other high-level long-lived waste at the Ignalina NPP are:
22,600 spent nuclear fuel assemblies (or 2,500 t of spent nuclear fuel),
3,000 m3 of spent graphite,
6,000 m3 of operational and dismantling long-lived waste,
12 m3 of institutional waste.

Landfill facility for very-low-level short-lived waste will be constructed in the vicinity of the Ignalina NPP. This repository should contain some 60,000 m3 of radioactive waste. The construction of the facility is ongoing. It is planned to begin the operation of the repository in 2019.

The site for a near-surface repository for low and intermediate-level short-lived waste has been selected close to the Ignalina NPP. The repository is currently in design stage. It is estimated that the repository should have a capacity of 100,000 m3. It is planned the construction of the repository to begin in 2019 and its operation in 2025.

Around 1 m3 of radioactive waste is generated annually in medical and scientific research institutions and industrial enterprises that use radioactive substances or sources of ionizing radiation. RATA conditions the waste and transports it to the Ignalina NPP. The institutional radioactive waste can be also disposed of in the near-surface repository, if the waste acceptance criteria met. The waste which do not meet waste acceptance criteria and long-lived radioactive waste would be disposed of in the deep geological repository in the future.