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Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant To Close Or Not?

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posted on May, 10 2005 @ 08:07 PM
The first reactor closed down December 31 2004. The second and remaining reactor of Ignalina nuclear power plant in Lithuania might be put out of service by December 31, 2009. This was one of the principal conditions for Lithuania's entering the European Union in May 2004. But the complete closure of the Ignalina might not happen after all. Former Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov have said that Ignalina´s reactors are "safe" and designed for 45 years service life, meaning the year 2031 for the second reactor. Closing down the Ignalina might be too costly for Lithuania, even with the aid they get from EU.

Lithuania's Nuclear Dilemma


Most articles in the European press focus on a single point: the fact that the reactors at Ignalina are of the RBMK-2 model, the same ones that caused the catastrophe in Ukraine over a decade ago. Fears over the reactor's safety have created a stumbling block on Lithuania's road to EU membership. But what would Ignalina's early shut down mean for Lithuania?

First of all, it is not as simple as turning off the switch. As Ignalina generates over 85 percent of the electricity produced in Lithuania, the first question to surface would be where to find new sources of electricity. Unlike Estonia with its plentiful oil shale supply, Lithuania is not blessed with natural energy resources; a shutdown of Ignalina would be tantamount to full dependency on a foreign supplier, which, for a developing country, could prove disastrous.

Lithuania has already experimented with the import of heavy fuel oils and even the environmentally disastrous Orimulsion for use in its other power plants, but further reliance on such imported fuels could prove to be financially and environmentally catastrophic in the long term.

In the Belly of the Beast


To the horror of many safety experts, there are no containment shells around Ignalina’s two reactors, which, at 1,500 megawatts a piece, are even more powerful than Chernobyl’s. Many safety features are also still manual, and prone to going haywire.

The big picture looks bad enough. But up close and personal, this plant, which employs over 5,000 workers, looks even worse. In the hallway just outside the core of reactor No. 1, the light-blue paint is peeling off corridor walls. Inside the reactor itself, lots of important-looking pieces of metal are rusty and bent. Thousands of wires twisted across the reactor floor are caked in dust.

Plant Director Viktor Shevaldin oozes confidence. "We don’t need a containment building because our water piping system is adequate"
Shevaldin speaks like a mathematician who has absolute faith that he hasn’t left any variables out of a very complex equation. No doubts. No problems.

But there have been glitches over the past year, some of them potentially serious. A one-centimeter crack in the reactor cooling system almost caused a major accident last October. And in March, an unknown variable—a crow—landed on electrical lines near the plant, setting off alarms and forcing the plant to shut down briefly.


In 1987-88, there were 80 fires and accidents, 3 of which were serious. In 1994, there were 7 unplanned shutdowns and several threats of nuclear terrorism. Ignalina, the largest RBMK reactors, has unfit automatic control, shutdown, safety, and containment systems. There were 57 accidents between January and mid-November of '95 Spent fuel has never been moved from the plant's storage pools.

These oversized Chernobyl-style reactors are suffering from acceleratred embrittlement of their fuel channels, and thus an increased likelihood of catastrophic failure. During Ignalina’s construction period, corruption, stealing, and drunkenness was common in the workforce, so construction quality is of a low level. The plant has been built on a geologic fault between two moving tectonic plates.

They might decide not to close her down after all. Ignalina might be one of the most dangerous nuclear power plants in the world. In November 1994, authorities shut down both Ignalina units in response to a terrorist threat. An accident, a terrorattack or an earthquake could happen anywhere of course. But Ignalina just appears like a russian roulette to me. A nuclear disaster might be looming. What can be done to prevent it?

Other Links and resources :
Bellona: Ignalina NPP’s closure may be postponed (from 2005-05-09)
Welcome To Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (Official Ignalina Homepage)
Former Russian Minister of Atomic Energy Adamov arrested in Switzerland at US request
The History of Ignalina told by INSC

posted on May, 10 2005 @ 08:34 PM
Hellmutt, I didn't even know about this issue.

I can certainly see the politics being played here. Just like in a lot of other situations worldwide, promises are made that seem to have no possiblity of being kept.
Decisions are made to make the citizens of the world feel safe, warm and fuzzy. We're never given the whole picture.

I'm not sure about the conspiracy angle.

posted on Jan, 6 2006 @ 05:01 PM
The Lithuanian government said today they may extend the life of the Ignalina nuclear plant. They now try to use the Ukraine-Russia gas dispute as a reason not to shut down this ticking timebomb. Of course they claim "it poses no safety threat" whatsoever.

Reuters: Lithuania may extend life of Soviet-era nuke plant

06 Jan 2006

Lithuania is considering extending the life of its Soviet-era Ignalina nuclear power plant despite a promise to shut it down by 2009, the government said on Friday.

Earlier this week, Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus stressed the need for Lithuania to build reservoirs to beef up its energy security in the wake of a row over gas between Russia and Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine struck a five-year deal on Wednesday after a bitter dispute which hit Europe's gas supplies for two days and cast doubt on Moscow's reliability as a supply source. "Definitely this is one of the issues Lithuania has to deal with in the very near future to provide additional independence for its economy," Adamkus told Reuters.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

I have a feeling they might have calculated the profit from letting Ignalina run until she blows bigger than the cost of a possible future disaster. Like airplanes are calculated to crash every now and then, because it will cost them more to keep the safety levels at maximum.

posted on Dec, 29 2009 @ 03:42 PM
Ignalina closure in two days

They are apparently closing down Ignalina in two days.

Lithuanian PM: Ignalina closure is not catastrophic


Lithuanian Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said the closure of the country’s only nuclear plant in two days is “nothing catastrophic,” citing estimates that the economy may return to growth even after the shutdown.


Closure of Ignalina may add as much as 0.8 percentage point to consumer prices next year

posted on Dec, 30 2009 @ 10:48 PM
Ignalina will be shut down one hour before midnight.

BBC: Lithuania to shut its only nuclear power station

31 December 2009

One hour before midnight, staff at the Ignalina plant will flick the switches, shutting down the only nuclear reactor in the Baltic states.

posted on Dec, 31 2009 @ 11:54 AM
Why are they closing down the plant?

And chernobyl was a disaster because they took some of the safties offline, it was huge irresponsibility.

posted on Dec, 31 2009 @ 12:07 PM
reply to post by nixie_nox

They're closing it down because it's a dangerous type of NPP. It has had many near-accidents, and it was built on a geologic fault between two moving tectonic plates too. An accident waiting to happen and too risky. Closing it down was a condition of Lithuania's membership of the EU. It would be better if they built a new one instead, at a different location.

posted on Dec, 31 2009 @ 03:42 PM
Ignalina is no longer producing electricity. It shut down 40 minutes ago.

Lithuania shuts its only nuclear power station

The Ignalina plant, the only nuclear reactor in the Baltic states, stopped producing electricity at 2300 local time (2100 GMT).

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