2.1 Geography and demography
The Ignalina nuclear power plant is located in Lithuania, close to the borders of Belorus and Latvia, as shown in Fig. 2.1. The plant is built on the southern shores of lake Druksiai, 39 km from the town of Ignalina. Nearest cities to the plant are Vilnius at a distance of 130 km with over 600,000 inhabitants, and Daugavpils in Latvia 30 km away with 126,000 inhabitants. Six kilometers from the plant is the city of Visaginas, about 33,200 inhabitants, residence of the Ignalina nuclear power plant personnel.
In the vicinity of the Ignalina NPP are the following lakes and rivers:
Visaginas is part of the Ignalina district. The construction of the nuclear power plant has made a big impact on the demography in this district. In 1979 the total population of the Ignalina district was 37,800, then in 1989 it rose to 59,700, while the population in the country-side decreased from 21,600 to 18,200 .
In 1979 the natural population increase rate was 4.8 people per 1000 (the birth and the death rate were 16.1 and 11.3 per 1000, respectively) and in 1989 it was 3.8 people per 1000 (the birth and death rate was 13.5 and 9.7 per 1000, respectively) . The main cause of the increase of population in the Ignalina district was migration to Visaginas. This also led to a significant shift in the nationality of the population of the Ignalina district. In 1979 the percentage of Russians and Russian speakers was about 26 % in 1989 it had increased to about 53 %. This immigration was concentrated in the city of Visaginas which consisted of about 92 % Russians and Russian speakers.
Fig.2.1 Location of the Ignalina NPP