Coronavirus forces Lithuania's Ignalina NPP to temporarily suspend decommissioning

  • 2020-04-03
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear power plant, shut down since 2010, is temporarily suspending decommissioning work and will send around 1,000 people home because of downtime.

Audrius Kamienas, the head of the nuclear facility, says work will be done at the minimum level for around two weeks as of Monday. During that time, measures will be introduced to reduce contact among staff member, ensure that people keep social distancing and step up hygiene.

"We are suspending our decommissioning activity. It will involve the majority of activity and the minimal shift regime will be maintained to ensure the system's safe maintenance, but work will not take place during that time," Kamienas told BNS.

In his words, people who cannot work remotely will be sent off into downtime.

"Around 540 people are working remotely, and there are some who are on sick leave and some are taking care of their children. Up to 1,000 people will be sent off into downtime," the Ignalina NPP head said.

The key processes at the facility, including the management of spent nuclear fuel, solid waste management etc, involves a lot of elder people, the company said.

According to Kamienas, the temporary changes will not effect the work schedule and the progress of the project. "Our project will last until 2038, and we are speaking about two weeks," he said.

Ignalina was shut down on Dec 31, 2009 when Lithuania joined the European Union and its decommissioning is scheduled to last until 2038.

The Ignalina decommissioning project has been allocated 450.8 euros from the EU's 2014-2020 budget after receiving 837.4 million euros in 2007-2013.