Unit 1 at Lithuania’s Ignalina nuclear power station was shut down for routine repairs early on 16 May. The 150-day outage will allow a safety enhancement programme to be implemented. Procedures related to the further licensing of the unit until May 1999 will also be carried out during the shutdown in line with requirements set by the EBRD which has been sponsoring safety measures at the plant. Unit 2 was put back into operation after routine repairs in early May.
Earlier Ignalina broke off negotiations with AECL for construction of nuclear waste storage casks. AECL was awarded the contract in an international tender but is accused by Ignalina of setting a higher price and tougher payment terms than it did when bidding for the work. AECL says the station imposed extra conditions which pushed the price up. Ignalina has asked the Lithuanian Ministry of Economics for permission to open talks with a German contractor who has already supplied storage casks.