Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant

Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant

Infobox NPP
Picture = Ignalina 20050629.jpg
Pic_des = Unit 1
Country = Lithuania
Utility = Republic of Lithuania
Built = 1974
Start = May 1, 1984
End =
Reactor = 1
Reactor_MW = 1360
S_Reactor = 1
S_Reactor_MW = 1360
B_Reactor =
B_Reactor_MW =
E_Reactor = 1 [ [http://www.world-nuclear.org/reference/reactorsdb_index.php Reactor Database c/o WNA] ]
E_Reactor_MW = 1360
El_Prod = 7,945
for_year = 2006
El_Prod_avg = 7,413
Net_Prod = 213,338
as_of = July 25, 2007

Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant is a two-unit RBMK-1500 nuclear power station in Visaginas, Lithuania. It is named after a larger nearby town Ignalina. Unit #1 was closed in December 2004, as a condition of Lithuania's entry into the European Union; the plant is similar to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in its lack of a robust containment structure.The remaining unit, as of 2006, supplied about 70% of Lithuania's electrical demand [cite web|title=Electricity Market in the Baltic Countries|url= http://events.le.lt/uploads/File/20060126/Electricity%20markets%20in%20BalticStates_Jank.ppt|publisher=Lietuvos Energija|accessdate=2008-04-19] . Unit #2 is tentatively scheduled for closure in 2009. Proposals have been made to construct another nuclear power plant in Lithuania.


The Ignalina nuclear power plant contains two RBMK-1500 water-cooled graphite-moderated channel-type power reactors. The Soviet-designed RBMK-1500 reactor was originally the most powerful reactor in the world with an electrical power capacity of 1500 MWe, but has now been succeeded by many nuclear reactors, respectively. The new EPR under construction at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant, Finland will be bigger at 1600 MWe. A series of 1495 MWe class exits in France. After the Chernobyl accident they were de-rated to 1360 MWe. These are of a similar type of reactor (RBMK-1000) as at the Chernobyl power plant, hence the European Union's insistence on closing them.

Unit #1 came online in 1983, and was closed on December 31, 2004. Unit #2 came online in 1987 and is expected to close in 2009. Unit #3 and #4 were never finished.


Preparations for the construction started in 1974. The field work started four years later. In 1986 Unit #2 was completed. Originally, Unit #2 was scheduled for launch in 1986, but its commissioning was postponed for a year because of the Chernobyl accident. Also, the construction of Unit #3 was suspended and in 1989 it began to be demolished. Visaginas town was artificially built to accommodate people who work at the plant. There was no village at that place and it is one of the most prominent examples of what is called "greenfields investment", a situation when a large plant, town, or other industrial object is built in an empty field with no prior infrastructure. The location was chosen next to the biggest lake in Lithuania, Drūkšiai, to provide water to cool the pipes. A part of this lake is now shared with Belarus. Some environmental activists are afraid that the lake is too small for such a powerful plant and say that the average water temperature increased by a few degrees Celsius. This might have negative consequences on the lake ecosystem.


As a condition of entry into the European Union, Lithuania agreed to close existing units of the station. Prior to the closure of Unit #1, and even allowing for de-rating of the station, the plant supplied 80% of Lithuania's electricity. Lithuania together with France are two countries that are most dependent on nuclear power. The European Union agreed to pay substantial decommissioning costs and compensation, with payments continuing until 2013.

Closing of the plant faced fierce opposition from the Lithuanian people. The plant provides income to most of the local people. To compensate for this, a project was started to encourage tourism and other small businesses. Others were afraid that the price of electricity would skyrocket or that Lithuania would be left to cope with gigantic costs of decommisioning the plant and the nuclear waste.

New power plant

There were discussion during the 1990s and 2000s of building a new nuclear power plant at the same site, forestalling the likelihood of an upcoming power shortage in the region. On 27 February 2006, at the meeting in Trakai, the Prime Ministers of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia signed a communiqué which invited state-owned energy companies in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to invest in the design and construction of a new nuclear power plant in Lithuania.Cite journal
title = Three Baltic states say "yes" to nuclear energy
journal = ENS News
publisher = European Nuclear Society
issue = 12
month = April | year = 2006
url= http://www.euronuclear.org/e-news/e-news-12/baltic-states.htm
accessdate =2008-07-31
] On 28 June 2007, Lithuania's parliament adopted a law on building a new nuclear power plant, the formal start of a project. [cite news
author = Nerijus Adomaitis
url = http://www.reuters.com/article/mergersNews/idUSL2870020520070628
title = Lithuania adopts law on new nuclear power plant
publisher = Reuters
] On 30 July 2008, the power companies of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Poland agreed to set up the Visaginas Nuclear Plant Company, which will be responsible for construction of the new power plant with capacity of 3,000 to 3,200 megawatts.cite news
url = http://www.world-nuclear-news.com/NN_Visaginas_recognised_with_nuclear_site_name_3007082.html
title = Visaginas recognised with nuclear site name
publisher = World Nuclear News
] The new power plant is estimated to be ready by 2015-2018.cite news
author = Nerijus Adomaitis
url = http://uk.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idUKL0544112420080605?sp=true
title = Lithuania targets 2015-18 for new nuclear plant
publisher = Reuters


See also

*Chernobyl disaster

External links

*en icon [http://www.iae.lt/infocenter_en.asp?lang=1&sub=1 Ignalina NPP home page]
* [http://www.visaginas.narod.ru/photos/history_iae/index.html The history of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant construction in pictures]
* [http://www.inyourpocket.com/instant/decommissioning-instant-guide.pdf A short PDF guide to decommissioning]
* [http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=k&om=1&ll=55.604548,26.562195&spn=0.007127,0.017231 Satellite image of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant] from Google Maps
* [http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/17082/ Lithuania to seek larger share of the nuclear pie]

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