Lithuanian State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (Vatesi) said on 5 May that it had issued a permit for commercial operation of a new interim used fuel storage facility, the ISFSF B1 Project. This followed State Enterprise Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant's (INPP's) successful completion the day before of hot tests with 10 new design casks. The company has demonstrated it is ready to operate the facility safely, Vatesi said.
Lithuania agreed to shut down Ignalina units 1 and 2 as a condition of its accession to the European Union. Unit 1 was shut down in December 2004 and unit 2 in December 2009. The new facility is located at the NPP site in Visaginas municipality. Used fuel will be stored in specially designed Constor RBMK1500/M2 casks that will each weigh 118 tonnes when fully loaded. It is expected that about 190 containers with 17,000 used fuel rods will be stored in the facility for up to 50 years.
An operating licence was issued for the new storage facility in September last year. This permitted commissioning of the facility and the start of hot trials with new design casks. INPP has said the start of 'industrial operation' of the ISFSF would start this October. All the used fuel from the Ignalina units is expected to be moved into storage at the facility by the end of 2022.