As described in Section 10, an in-depth safety assessment of the Ignalina NPP was undertaken in 1995-96 and as a result a plant-specific Safety Analysis Report was produced which will form the basis for decisions on future operation of Ignalina NPP. The SAR and RSR teams have identified safety issues, made many recommendations on necessary safety improvements in design, operation and safety culture. Implementation of all improvements will significantly increase the safety level of the Ignalina plant. The Ignalina Safety Panel holds the view that the most important safety issues in design and operation must be resolved without delay . At the close 1997 these issues are as follows:
Among the SARís recommendations is the desirability to install a second independent shutdown system at both units. This involves a significant hardware up-grade and could be expected to require about 3-4 years for completion. The Ignalina Safety Panel did not recommend the installation of such a system at unit 1 because is expected to be shut down in relatively near future. For unit 1 the development of an economic and speedy resolution of the control and protection system issue is required which will be able to provide an acceptable system for the remaining years of the operation before its closure. The projected longer life of unit 2 requires a more reliable solution. According the Panel, Lithuania must carry out an estimated about $120 million worth of safety improvements, which includes the installation of an independent shutdown system for unit 2.
To operate beyond June 30, 1998 unit 1 will have to be relicensed by VATESI. The operation of unit 1 beyond 1998 would depend on the results of the nuclear safety assessment, the cost of continued safety upgrades and energy situation in Lithuania. The Ignalina Safety Panel required substantial changes in the attitude of the regulator with regard to safety problems. VATESI must develop a regulatory regime for the licensing process and for monitoring of Ignalina NPP operation using bilateral and multilateral assistance.
As noted above, the SAR was initially conceived as a Western-style SAR, produced by the plant with help from Western experts. However, such a SAR would have consumed several times the resources budgeted for the in-depth safety assessment of Ignalina NPP. The scope was therefore defined as including assessment specific essential items. The intention was that it should take the form of a justification by of plant safety level in 1996, and the explanation of how the intended improvements will establish an acceptable safety level for remaining years of operation until plant closure. The objectives point out that the SAR is intended to aid VATESI in making a licensing decision, but it is not stated that the SAR will form the complete basis of the safety case prepared for licensing. The SAR is a major contribution to the licensing process currently being undertaken by Lithuanian regulatory body, VATESI. Some issues were not covered by the assessment and remain to be resolved between VATESI and Ignalina NPP. For this purpose the International Licensing Assistance Project was established. Its goal is to support VATESI during application of the SAR and RSR results in the licensing of the Ignalina NPP.
The Ignalina Safety Panel concludes that the measures defined by the Safety Improvement Program, partially funded from NSA, are in general supported by SAR and RSR results. However, the scope of these studies is not sufficient to resolve all licensing issues and continue operation. The ISP recognises the urgent need for and supports an integrated international assistance program that builds upon the Safety Improvement Program of Ignalina NPP and includes guidance to VATESI and its technical support organisations.
The ISP recommended that the Lithuanian Nuclear Safety Advisory Committee should monitor the follow-up process of the Ignalina Safety Assessment and provide necessary authority. The international component of the committee is broadened by inviting membership from the USA, France, and Japan in additional to the members from Sweden, Germany, UK, Finland and Ukraine.
The Lithuanian Government agreed that the recommendations of the ISP were extremely important for the enhancement of nuclear safety at the Ignalina NPP. The Government of the Republic of Lithuania also reported that they will ensure that the organizations within the countryís nuclear energy sector will take all of the necessary actions and that the necessary resources would be made available.
The new Safety Improvement Program (SIP-2) of the Ignalina NPP  is based mainly on the recommendation of the Ignalina Safety Panel, Safety Analysis Report production and its independent review. The SIP-2 has been already developed and approved by the Lithuanian authorities. Experience of the first Safety Improvement Program and safety-related problems identified within Ignalina NPP were also taken into account. The SIP-2 will be continuously up-dated and revised annually and should be completed in three years (1997-1999). All activities within the new Safety Improvement Program are divided in three groups:
Design modifications include system improvements for normal operation, such as feedwater regulation, development and implementation of hazard protection, accident prevention and mitigation measures. Management and organization development includes implementation of symptom-based operational procedures, system for maintenance and configuration management, Quality Assurance program and Safety Culture system. The new Safety Improvement Program includes the 6 most important safety measures recommended by the ISP to be resolved in short-term, safety problems to be resolved before licensing and safety issues to be resolved after licensing. The six safety issues needing immediate resolution are listed above. The other most important safety problems which should be resolved before licensing are as follows:
Among the long-term safety measurements the most important is the development and installation of a fully independent diverse shutdown system. Other important safety are as follows:
All the tasks of the first Safety Improvement Program which were not completed have been included in the SIP-2. Among them are construction of the on-site interim spent fuel storage, development of cementation facility for spent ion exchange resins and others discussed in Subsection 3.2. Some new safety improvements proposed by the plant itself are included in the SIP-2, such as replacing of batteries and DC switch-gears at unit 2, implementation of safety panel at unit 2, development and installation of solid waste incinerator, upgrading of pipeline of SDV-D valves.
A special Project Organisation was established at the plant to implement the SIP-2 program. Project management and project staff have been appointed by the Director General of the Ignalina NPP and have been relieved from other duties in order to be able to devote their whole efforts to the Project. A Steering Group for the supervision of the Project composed of members from the plant and from external bodies has been established. Quality Assurance (QA) program for the Project which will be in line with general plant QA program has been developed and implemented. At the close of 1997 some specific project management actions have already been implemented by the plant in response to the SAR and RSR findings. Other changes are under way. These include continued development of management skills at all levels of the organisation, a Program for increasing Safety Culture awareness of all staff, combining with Safety Culture audits of individual parts of the plant organization, splitting-off of non-core activities of Ignalina NPP into separate independent companies during 1997-1998 activities, setting up of a new Department for Perspective Planning and introduction of a new efficient and transparent economy administration system that can serve as a management tool. The Department for Perspective Planning will be responsible for long-term planning, public and staff information, business development, management and organization development and governmental contacts.