No spent nuclear fuel left in Lithuanian N-plant's rectors

VILNIUS - There is no spent fuel left in the reactors of Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP), which has been offline for eight years now, after the last fuel assembly was removed from Reactor No._ 2 _on Sunday.  

Spent nuclear fuel is now being moved to the plant's interim storage facility.

"No, (there is no fuel left) in the rectors. Reactor No._ 2_ is empty now. Reactor No. 1 has been empty since 2009. We did everything 15 months ahead of schedule," Ina Dauksiene, acting head of communications at the INPP, told BNS.

According to Dauksiene, spent fuel from storage pools located at both reactors is being loaded into casks, which are gradually transported to the interim spent nuclear fuel storage facility, known as the B1 project.

"We plan to remove all remaining fuel from the pools by late 2022," she said.

There were 1,661 spent fuel assemblies in Reactor No. 2 at the time it was shut down. Around 500 assemblies were removed from the reactor in 2011. The remaining 1,134 have been removed since June 2017.

The 193.5-million-euro storage facility was built and equipped, five to six years behind schedule, by a consortium of the Russian-owned German companies Nukem Technologies and GNS.

The Energy Ministry estimates that Lithuania needs an additional 1.6 billion euros for the plant's decommissioning. The country expects to receive the bulk of the money from the European Union.

The Ignalina plant, which was the first in the world to close Soviet-built RBMK-type reactors that are considered unsafe by the West, is to be fully decommissioned by 2038.

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