Nukem, Vėtrūna sign agreement on Ignalina

The Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, which contained one of the world's largest reactors, was shut down at the end of of 2009 on EU orders because its design was too similar to the ill-fated Chernobyl plant. Photo by INPP.

VILNIUS — The delayed and possibly fraudulent decommissioning process of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant took a step forward this week when German contractor Nukem Technologies and Lithuanian construction company Vėtrūna reached a formal agreement on building a nuclear waste containment unit.

The unit for the decommissioned Lithuanian nuclear plant was supposed to be completed in 2008, a year before the facility went offline as mandated by the European Union. However, disputes over payment and contractual obligations stalled the process and now it appears the containment unit will not be complete until 2013. Meanwhile the radioactive waste is being stored in one of Ignalina’s off-line reactors.

“Nukem Technologies and Vėtrūna signed a letter of intent that will prevent further delays. Vėtrūna is already in the works at the building site,” Beate Scheffler, Nukem Technologies corporate communication director told the Verslo Žinios business newspaper.

Meanwhile the shutdown of Ignalina remains under investigation by the Ministry of Energy for fraud, and Vice Minister of Energy Romas Švedas told Baltic Reports he expects the decommissioning to be the most costly worldwide. The Ministry of Energy estimates that the completion of the shutdown of the plant will be complete in 2030. The EU is funding the shutdown procedure until 2013.

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