Ignalina NPP became even more important for the national energy system after the restitution of Lithuania’s independence. Due to surge in fossil prices which is imported mainly from Russia, electricity generation costs at nuclear power plant are almost twice lower than in other plants. INPP produced 60 percent of Lithuanian electricity in 1991. In 1993 INPP produced record amount of electricity – 12, 26 billion kWh or 88, 1 percent of electricity necessary for the state. This figure was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest contribution to the common electricity production in the world’s nuclear history.
After Lithuania took over its jurisdiction INPP in 1991, it became the 31st state in the world using nuclear energy for electricity generation.
Due to the Chernobyl accident, INPP has undergone a number of international studies and extensive safety analysis. It can be argued that the probability of the accident at Ignalina NPP and the overall level of safety were similar to the Western nuclear safety standards. However, unlike other types of modern NPP, RBMK-type reactors have no such a protective shield that might detain radioactive material during an accident. For this reason Western policy makers and organizations agree that RBMK-type reactors operating risks cannot be reduced to the extent that they are safe to operate permanently.
International community’s opinion was significant for Lithuania during the process of preparation for its accession to the EU and NATO. Therefore, Lithuania respecting the international community’s opinion and having regard to the Nuclear Safety Account Grant Agreement in the approved in Parliament National Energy Strategy in 1999 scheduled the shutdown of Unit 1 of Ignalina NPP by 2005 according to the EU’s, the G-7 counties’, other countries’ and international financial institutions’ long-term substantial financial assistance. In 2000 according to the National Energy Strategy the Parliament of Lithuania adopted the Law on the Decommissioning of Unit 1 of the State Enterprise Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant.
Decommissioning Service was founded in 2000 which is the newest division of INPP. Decommissioning Service is subordinate to the General Director of the INPP and its activity is financed by the Ignalina NPP Decommissioning Fund.
On 19 February 2001, Lithuanian Government approved a Program for Decommissioning INPP's Unit 1.
As it is said in the National Energy Strategy approved on 10 October 2002, EU countries have admitted that decommissioning of the INPP will take longer than the present financial prospects allow, and that it is an excessive financial burden to Lithuania incommensurable with its size and economic power. For this reason Unit 2 of INPP is to be shut down by 2009, provided financial sources and necessary funding based on agreements with EU institutions and other donors.
Following the resolutions taken by the Government INPP Unit 1 was shut down at the end of December of 2004 and Unit 2 was closed on 31 December 2009. During the suspension of Unit 1 there were 3,517 employees at INPP and during the closure of Unit 2 – 2,354 employees.
During the 26 years of operation Ignalina NPP has produced 307, 9 billion kWh of electricity: Unit 1 – 136, 9 billion kWh and Unit 2 – 170, 2 billion kWh. The total amount of electricity sold is 279, 8 billion kWh.
The construction of INPP necessitated constructing 142 km of roads, 50 km of railway, 390 km of communication lines, 334 km of electricity lines, 133 km of sewerage lines, and 164 km of thermal lines. 3 544,000 m3 of concrete and reinforced concrete and 76,480 tones of reinforcement was used for the construction.