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19/02/2019 - Comment on Ignalina NPP reactors safety in a TV show “Science soup”

Ignalinos AE fasado panorama - LEI archyvo nuotrauka

Lithuanian public broadcaster’s popular science show “Science soup” for their TV series on Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) enquired the head of the laboratory of Nuclear Installation Safety Prof. Eugenijus Ušpuras to comment on Ignalina NPP safety.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the declaration of independence of Republic of Lithuania in 1990 the accumulated knowledge and capacities of LEI researchers were immediately directed towards meeting the rapidly growing needs of now independent Lithuania. As Ignalina NPP with two largest in the world RBMK-1500 reactors came under authority of the Lithuania Republic, the realities of Lithuanian economy suggested to utilise the already present competence in dealing with its safe operation issues. A lot of effort in further raising competence in the field of nuclear installation safety was required. Thanks to E. Ušpuras Ignalina safety analysis group was formed in a brief time and its competence limits were expanded. The group itself was expanded to 30 employees and Laboratory of Nuclear Instalation Safety was established. The laboratory continued to carry out research important to Lithuanian nuclear energy development and ensured safe exploitation of the NPP.

While conducting deterministic and probabilistic research and making engineering decisions towards improving Ignalina NPP safety and reliability the expertise acquired through the period of 1994–2004 by E. Ušpuras and his colleagues was acknowledged and awarded the Lithuanian Science Prize in 2006. Under the leadership of E. Ušpuras the project “Reuse of Unit 1 Fuel in Unit 2 Reactor of Ignalina NPP” was implemented.  The results by the project’s international team guaranteed saving of several  hundred  million  euros,  as  the  purchase  of  fewer  new  nuclear  fuel rods was needed and a smaller amount of them would need to be stored in radioactive waste repositories.

At present time LEI competence in the field of nuclear energy safety is of high international level and is among the best in Eastern Europe. Safe decommissioning of Ignalina NPP, up-to-date radioactive waste treatment, safe spent nuclear fuel storage – are particularly relevant issues of today that are being solved with the help of researchers of Lithuanian Energy Institute.

Interview with E. Ušpuras for the TV show (in Lithuanian language only)
Kodėl buvo uždaryta Ignalinos atominė elektrinė?;

Ignalina NPP fuel rod transportation system
Ignalina NPP fuel rod transportation system © LEI, all rights reserved.

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