Nuclear regulatory authority
The State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) regulates nuclear and radiation safety as well as security at nuclear power and radioactive waste management facilities; transportation safety and security of nuclear and nuclear fuel cycle materials; safety and security of activities involving sources of ionizing radiation in the area of nuclear energy; and non-proliferation issues concerning nuclear weapons.
Lithuania has one nuclear power plant, Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant with two RMBK-1500 units which are both permanently shut down: Unit-1 in 2004 and Unit-2 in 2009. Both reactors are defueled. License holder – State Enterprise Ignalina NPP – has plans to defuel both units’ spent fuel pools until 2022. Decontamination and dismantling activities of no more needed equipment are in progress.
Other nuclear facilities, all operated by the State Enterprise Ignalina NPP, are:
- Two dry type spent nuclear fuel storage facilities: the first facility contains98 CONSTOR RBMK-1500 type and 20 CASTOR RBMK containers. This facility is fully loaded; the second facility was put in operation on 4 May 2017 and will contain about 190 CONSTOR RBMK-1500/М2 type containers. Common design capacity of two facilities is about 2400 tons of heavy metal – all spent fuel of Ignalina NPP.
- Storage facility for cemented liquid waste. On 10 March 2006 VATESI issued a license to Ignalina NPP for operation of storage facility for cemented spent ion-exchange resins, filter aid (perlite) and part of evaporator concentrate with solid particle sediments.
- Solid radioactive waste retrieval facilities (project B2) these facilities are dedicated for retrieval of the Ignalina NPP operational waste from the old storage facilities (buildings 155, 155/1, 157, 157/1) and characterization of very low-level radioactive waste. For retrieval facilities from 155 and 155/1 buildings the operational license was issued in June 2017 and since June 2020, the facility is in operation. For retrieval facilities from 157 and 157/1 buildings, the “hot trials” started in October 2017. About 27 000 m3 of waste have to be retrieved and most will be sent to new solid radioactive waste management and storage facilities (project B3/4).
- Solid radioactive waste management and storage facilities (project B3/4) – all solid radioactive operational and decommissioning waste will be managed in new solid radioactive waste management facilities. The planned capacity of the storage facility for short-lived radioactive waste is about 2500 m3 and for long-lived radioactive waste is about 2000 m3. These storage facilities could be extended if necessary. The operational license was issued in October 2017 and “hot trials” of facilities have started.
- Very low-level radioactive waste storage facility (project B19-1) – this facility started commercial operation in 2013. The load capacity of this buffer storage is 4000 m3. Radioactive waste will be transferred into very low-level radioactive waste repository approximately every 2 years.
- Very low-level radioactive waste disposal facility (project B19-2) – on 23 December 2015 VATESI issued a license to construct and operate a very low level radioactive waste disposal facility. Capacity of very low level radioactive waste disposal will be 60 000 m3. Planned start of operation is in 2021.
- Low and intermediate level short-lived radioactive waste disposal facility (project B25) – on 22 November 2017 VATESI issued a license to construct and operate a low and intermediate level short-lived radioactive waste disposal facility. Capacity of low and intermediate level radioactive waste disposal facility will be 100 000 m3. Planned start of operation is in 2023.
- The Maišiagala “Radon”-type waste storage facility was closed in 1989. This storage was designed for institutional waste disposal with the volume about 200 m3. License holder - State Enterprise Ignalina NPP. Periodic safety review of this facility was performed in 2016. Licensing process for decommissioning of Maišiagala Radioactive Waste Storage Facility is ongoing. According to the decommissioning plan, radioactive waste stored in Maišiagala facility will be sorted and shipped to the Ignalina NPP radioactive waste treatment and storage facilities. It is planned to decommission Maišiagala facility till 2023.
In accordance with the Nuclear Facilities Decommissioning and Radioactive Waste Management Development Program 2021 – 2030, State Enterprise Ignalina NPP is also responsible for the implementation of a geological repository of radioactive waste.
Main legal instruments
The key legal documents, associated with the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, are the Law on Nuclear Energy, Law on Nuclear Safety, Law on the Management of Radioactive Waste and the Law on Radiation Protection. Based on the aforementioned laws, the Government and competent authorities of the Republic of Lithuania develop secondary legislation, with VATESI being responsible for establishing nuclear and radiation (at nuclear and radioactive waste management facilities) safety, nuclear materials accounting and control as well as physical security regulations.
For more details, see VATESI website.
Last updated in February 2021