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Ignalina HLW storage contract

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
#404
17/12/1993
Article

(December 17, 1993) Under advice from Sweden's Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management agency (SKB), the Lithuanian government has nearly concluded negotiations with Germany's Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Behälter (GNB) to supply spent fuel casks for the Ignalina nuclear plant. The decision has eliminated the Canadian utility Ontario Hydro from consideration for the contract, which has been valued at US$ 50 million.

(404.3996) WISE Amsterdam - Last month, GNB's general manager, Klaus Janberg, told a London confe-rence on dry storage of HLW that his company is actively finishing development of a new steel-and-concrete cask for spent fuel from Chernobyl-style RBMK reactors. "But the first casks to be delivered for Ignalina will still be cast iron casks," he said, "because the Lithuanians are in desperate need."

Indeed they are. The two huge (1250-megawatt) RBMKs at Ignalina have been classified by the Group of Seven countries as among the 25 most dangerous reactors in the former Soviet bloc, but they supply 60 percent of Lithuania's electricity and they're out of containment space for spent fuel.

Getting some of the fuel into dry storage will help, but the government has also estimated that US$ 136 million in repair work is needed immediately inside the reactors. Sweden has earmarked $20 million in aid for this purpose, and the Nuclear Safety Account managed by the European Bank for Resonstruction and Development is expected to contribute $35 million, but so far none of the money has appeared.

Sources:

  • Nuclear Fuel (US), 22 Nov. 1993
  • Toronto Globe & Mail (Canada), 9 Oct. 1993