Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Lithuania

09/18/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2018 01:06

Minister of Energy Ž. Vaičiūnas: It is of particular importance for us, that the EU contribution to decommissioning of the Ignalina NPP remains stable and adequate

On the 17th of September, Rebecca Harms, the appointed rapporteur of the European Parliament's (EP) Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) presented a draft report by the EP to allocate EUR 780 million in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) of the European Union (EU) to shut down the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) - as much, as requested by Lithuania.

As maintained in the proposal presented by Rebecca Harms, the main rapporteur of EP on the matters relevant to financing the decommissioning of the INPP, closing the INPP is a unique challenge for the European nuclear safety, both due to the size of Chernobyl RBMK reactors, which were the most powerful in the world at that time, and the technical characteristics of the reactors.

It is noted in R. Harms' report that for the decommissioning of the INPP in the financial perspective for 2020-2027 the EU should allocate EUR 780 million allowing for the fact that the most complicated works - dismantling of both reactors - would start at that time. Such resource allocation, as proposed by the European Commission (EC) - EUR 552 million, which does not ensure sufficient funding, would pose a threat that the INPP decommissioning works might be postponed for at least four years. This would pose risks associated with nuclear safety, rising costs of the project, as well as the lack of specialists capable of carrying out particularly elaborate dismantling works.

It is also proposed in the report that the current level of financing, when the EU finances 86% of the value of the projects, and the rest is financed by Lithuania, is optimized and should remain such in the future.

'This is good news for Lithuania, because it is extremely important for us that the EU's contribution to this long-term project would remain stable and adequate in order to secure safe and timely closure of the INPP. It is vital to have an understanding, which we see to have, that the INPP decommissioning project is the matter of responsibility for both Lithuania and all EU Member States, and have our efforts to ensure smooth and efficient closure appreciated', says the Minister of Energy Žygimantas Vaičiūnas.

The report also lays emphasis on that the current EC proposal for the Ignalina Program does not deal with the issue of long-term radioactive waste storage in deep geological waste repositories identifying it as essentially Lithuanian responsibility. The EP rapporteur R. Harms believes that eventually, the EU should also be contributing to the preparation of such repository in Lithuania, as Lithuania could not accumulate sufficient funding for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel.

The report will be voted on by the EP Committee in November. Lithuania will continue to actively pursue negotiations with the Member States to ensure financial assistance for the closure of the INPP.

The nuclear power plant was built near Ignalina during the Soviet occupation and was designed to serve the electricity needs not only of Lithuania, but of a much broader region - Belarus and the Baltic States.

Full draft report on the proposal for a Council regulation establishing the nuclear decommissioning assistance programme of the Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania can be found here.