Jacobs to plan dismantling of Soviet-era nuclear reactors

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Project in Lithuania could offer important lessons for other nuclear power station clean-ups.

A consortium comprising Westinghouse Electric Spain, Jacobs and the Lithuanian Energy Institute has been selected to plan dismantling and waste management at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant in Lithuania.

Soviet-designed Ignalina could be the first graphite-moderated reactor plant to be dismantled, making it an important test bed for methodologies that could be used to decommission the UK’s Magnox and advanced gas-cooled reactors, which also have graphite cores.

“This project, on top of the recently announced contract with Norsk Nukleær Dekommisjonering, has advanced Jacobs’ strategy to grow our decommissioning and regeneration solutions business in continental Europe,” said Jacobs energy, security and technology senior vice president Karen Wiemelt. “Our teams based in the UK, France and Slovakia are applying decommissioning skills acquired through work on some of the world’s most complex and challenging nuclear sites including Sellafield and Fukushima,” she said.

In 2002, the Lithuanian government decided to shut down Ignalina NPP, which supplied up to 88% of the country’s electricity. Over the next 19 years, Jacobs formed part of the project management unit for a set of purpose-built facilities needed to decommission the plant, as part of a programme led by the Ignalina International Decommissioning Support Fund and financed through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.