The Ignalina NPP in eastern Lithuania began operating its new interim used nuclear fuel storage facility (B1) with delivery of the first cargo on 14 October.
Lithuanian officials said the start-up of the B1 facility marks an important milestone in decommissioning Ignalina. Around 190 casks are to be stored at the facility for 50 years before removing the waste for permanent disposal underground. Complete removal of used nuclear fuel from both Ignalina reactors is planned for the end of 2022.
Lithuania closed its NPP's second unit in 2009 and has been decommissioning the power plant as a condition for accession to the European Union (EU) agreed on in 1999. The EU viewed Ignalina’s RBMK reactors as high risk and agreed to cover the costs of decommissioning. However, the project has suffered delays and increased costs. According to the final decommissioning plan, the project is due for completion by 2038 with total costs of €2.6bn ($2.9bn). It was originally planned for completion by 2029 with total costs of €1.24bn.