Cold trials of equipment for handling used nuclear fuel began at Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear power plant on 19 January. The tests are part of the decommissioning project ?1 (Interim Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility, ISFSF).

The two Soviet RBMK units at Ignalina were shut down as a condition for Lithuania's membership of the EU. Ignalina 1 was shut down in December 2004 and Ignalina 2 in December 2009.

The cold tests include the supply of a container to the service site in fuel hold-up pools hall, loading of fuel dummies in the container, sealing of the container, leak tests and preparation for shipment to the storage facility. Cold tests at units 1 and 2 should be completed by the end of June. Based on their results, an operating permit for ISFSF will be obtained from regulator VATESI. This will allow for hot trials in which the containers will be loaded with irradiated fuel assemblies. Hot trials are planned to be completed by summer 2017. The commercial operation ISFSF is planned for October 2017.

Ignalina NPP said on 21 January that more than 30,000t of nuclear-related equipment have been dismantled at the NPP since decommissioning began in 2010. This represents 23.4% of the total amount of equipment planned for dismantling by 2038, estimated at about 130,000t tonnes. A large part of the dismantled material will be sold as scrap metal after being tested for radioactive contamination, and the rest will be stored in a temporary facility until it can be transferred to a final depository.

In 2015 the NPP received €2.058m ($2.23m) from sales of equipment and property, as well as from other commercial activity. Since 2010 the plant received €9.5m.

Date: Sunday, 24 January 2016
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