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Soviet era nuclear reactor shutting down in Lithuania

Submitted by on 1/1/05 – 12:00No Comment

ignalinaThe Lithuanian authorties has shut down one of the reactors at the Ignalina station north east of Vilnius, as part of it’s EU accension conditions.

Unit 1 was turned off on the last day of 2004. The station, which started servicing Lithuania in 1983, is similar to that at Chernobyl in the Ukraine and supplies 70% of the country’s electricity. The other RMBK reactor, providing 1300 megawatts, will continue to operate until the end of 2009.

The EU has pledged almost two billion euro to help close the plant because of worries about safety at it and the nearby town of Visaginas.

Viktoras Sevaldinas, the station’s director, said the disaster at Chernobyl had ”…cast a shadow over our plant too”.

“We knew the first unit would be closed long ago and we have been prepared for it.”

visaginas“Only after five years will we be able to remove the nuclear fuel from the containers in the first unit. Later we will start to dismantle the reactor itself. The entire process could take as long as 30 years.”

Both reactors underwent safety upgrades after Lithuania gained it’s independence from the USSR in 1991, according to Associated Press reports.


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