INPP launches plant operation

  • 2004-11-01
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - Recently launching its second power unit after a six-month maintenance shutdown, Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant was operating at a capacity of 2,050-2,100 megawatts on Oct. 29.

Gennady Negrivoda, INPP's technical director, told the Baltic News Service that only one of the second reactor's two turbines is currently working, with the second one to be put back in operation on Nov. 4 -5.

"There is no need to restart the second turbine at present. It will be restarted in early November," he said.

Each of Ignalina's two power units, which make up a total capacity of 2,600 megawatts, contains a pair of turbines.

On May 8 the second block was stopped to install a diverse shutdown system, which has since significantly improved the reactor's safety. This followed a one-month maintenance shutdown at the first power unit earlier this year.

In accordance with EU membership agreements, Lithuania has pledged to close the first reactor block by the end of 2004, and the whole plant by 2009.

The government, however, is trying to convince EU experts that closing Ignalina's first reactor this winter would affect the stability of the region's energy system.

The Economy Ministry sent a letter to the European Commission's Directorate for Transport and Energy this week, asking for an opinion from EU technical experts on the reliability of the region's power grid, after Ignalina's first unit is scheduled to shut down at the end of this year.

The INPP sold 14.25 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity last year, of which 7.5 billion kWh was exported to neighboring markets.

In the first nine months of this year, the plant has sold 9.9 billion kWh of electricity, a decline of 3.8 percent from 2003. Meanwhile, annual sales are projected to reach around 13 billion kWh.