B20 project. Upgrade of Bituminised Waste Vaults

Project B20 review

Storage Facility is located in the north-western part of the protected Ignalina NPP industrial site at about 200 m to the west from the Unit 1and about 600 m apart the southern coast of Drūkšiai Lake. The Bituminised Waste Storage Facility comprises an above-ground, rectangular structure (75.3 m x 74.1 m). Storage Facility is connected to Building 150 (LRW processing, bituminisation and cementation buildings), by pedestrian and process galleries from the east and to Building 158/2 (Cemented LRW Interim Storage Facility) from the west.

Storage Facility is designed for acceptance and storage of bituminised RW. Pursuant to the BSR-3.1.2-2017, bituminised RW are attributed to “B” and “C” classes of RW, i.e., short-lived low and intermediate level RW to be placed to the near-surface repository.

Drained water and sewage from technological (process) building of INPP (Unit 1 and Unit 2, specialised laundries, etc.) are collected and stored in the drain water, liquid operational waste and emergency drain water suction and storage tanks, installed in buildings 151, 154. Water from drain water tanks in building 151 is supplied to one of the two interconnected evaporators, installed in building 150, which, as it has been already mentioned, include bituminisation facilities. Water in the evaporator is evaporated until the salt concentration

reaches 130 g/l. Then concentrate undergoes additional concentration in the re-evaporation unit up to 360-390 g/l salt concentration. Concentrate (concentrated LRW or stillage residue) from this evaporation facility is supplied to one of the two bituminisation facilities of extruder type where it is being mixed with bitumen and transferred to the preliminary selected canyon of the Storage facility via bitumen compound transportation and discharge to canyons system.

Construction of the Storage Facility begun in 1981, operation in 1987. Currently, canyons Nos 1 - 6, 10, 12 are completely loaded with bituminised RW. Loading of canyon No. 11 started in 2015. Ignalina NPP has decided not to load bituminised RW to the following three (3) canyons: No. 7, 8 and 9. Currently, there are ~ 14422 m3 of bituminised RW loaded to the Storage Facility canyons.




The purpose of the project is to confirm the feasibility of converting the existing Bituminised Waste Storage Facility into a repository, to prepare a technical design and relevant supporting safety documentation for so doing and to perform engineering and relevant upgrading works.

Project will be performed in 2 phases:

This will include:

1. Design phase:
- Additional geological and hydrogeological investigations of soils in the vicinity of the storage facility and depending on the results a decision will be taken on the possibility of converting the bituminous waste storage facility into a repository and the Concept of Repository will be developed. Following the approval Concept of the Repository with VATESI, Environmental impact assessment (EIA), technical design and preliminary safety analysis report (SAR) will be developed.

- In case of not feasible of reconstruction of the bituminised waste storage facility, or during the EIA procedure negative decision may be obtained, will analyze possible ways to retrieve bituminised RW from storage facility, packaging waste, transportation and alternative disposal sites of bituminised RW will be investigated.

In this case, separate project will be initiated to retrieve the bituminised RW.

2. Construction works phase:
- Preparation of detail design documentation, further engineering barriers construction works and relevant upgrading works. The Contract of the project Ist stage signed with Contractor, came into force on 4th October 2018.
Contractor: JSC Svertas Group. Contractor performed geological and hydrogeological investigations of soils in the vicinity of the storage facility and expertise of the storage facility.
Value of the Project: The value of the design phase is 1.2 MEUR. The total estimated cost of completing the entire B20 project according to the FDP is 5.54 MEUR.

The construction of the repository's engineering barriers will be subject to a separate contract.

Performed studies:

  • 1998 – 2000 Sweden company SKB performed assessment of long term safety of existing storage faсility for Bituminised wastе and Storage Facility safety analysis;
  • 2000 - 2003 KUT performed calculations of foundation plate of building based on the three-dimensional model and calculations of foundation plate of Storage Facility in case of uneven load to the plate;
  • In 2006 group of scientists developed proposals for engineering measures applicable to conversion of the Ignalina NPP Bituminised Radioactive Waste Storage Facility into the Repository and their justification.
  • 2007 - 2009 LEI performed the Feasibility Study of Interim Bituminised Radioactive Waste Storage Facility conversion into the Repository (justification of long-term storage);
  • In 2012 INPP performed periodical safety assessment of the Storage facility;
  • In 2015 INPP performed periodical safety assessment of the LRW bituminisation facilities, building 150;
  • In 2015 LEI performed Fire Hazard Analysis of the Storage Facility;
  • At the end of 2015, the international mission of experts was held in order to assess the opportunity to convert the Storage facility into the Repository;
  • In 2016 INPP developed Safety analysis report of the Storage facility.

Recent progress:

  • 2015-03-30 Activity plan of Project B20 “Plan of measures for transfer of the bituminised radioactive waste storage into final repository” was prepared.
  • In November 2016 Project identification FICHE BWR.01 was issued and agreed with the European Commission and CPMA, financial agreement No. 1B.15/01/BWR.01.0001 / St 29(13.74) signed.
  • In December 2017 tender was announced.
  • In February 2018 Activity plan of Project B20 revised.
  • In March 2018 Tender proposals submission deadline. The evaluation of the received proposals and the compliance of the candidates with the qualification requirements had been started.
  • In May 2018 Tender winner was determined.
  • In July 2018 Contract No. PSt-136 signed by INPP.
  • In November 2018 INPP agreed the Quality Assurance Plan of Supplier (including Detailed Schedule of Performance of Services).
  • In January 2019 the Supplier performed geodetic measurements of the territory, made a geodetic photograph of the storage facility. JSC Ekspertika started the expertise of the storage facility. Visual inspection of the storage building, measurement of cracks, photos of the building.
  • In May 2019 EGG programme No. GT-19-001 agreed by LGS submitted to INPP.
  • In June 2019 JSC ,,Geotestus” under program No. GT-19-001 had performed drilling works at the bituminised radioactive waste storage site.
  • In December 2019 Concept of the Repository and Repository site evaluation Report were agreed by INPP and were submitted for VATESI agreement. 
  • April-December 2020 Concept of the Repository and Repository Site Evaluation Report are being agreed with VATESI and State institutions, update of the documents is ongoing in accordance with the comments submitted.
  • June-October 2020 additional investigations of the properties of concrete samples of the structures of the storage building were performed.
  • In November 2020 groundwater monitoring on site of the planned Repository has been started.
  • In May 2021 a meeting with the IAEA team of experts took place. IAEA experts are reviewing the repository site evaluation report of the bituminous radioactive waste storage and concept of the repository.
  • July-August 2021 according to the submitted LGS comments, investigations of the properties of concrete samples of the structures of the storage building were performed.
  • In September 2021 IAEA experts provided pre-review report and comments on the concept of the repository and repository site evaluation report.
  • On April 20, 2022 Representatives of the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority visited INPP. The meeting participants were representatives from INPP, VATESI, CPMA. During the meeting, discussed the recommendations and conclusions of the mission carried out by IAEA experts, and explanations regarding the acceptance of site of the repository and the safety of the concept were clarified.
  • In May 2022 technical meetings with the IAEA team of experts took place. IAEA experts will present a final review report of the documents, results and conclusions.

The date of design phase finish is on 1st May 2023.

The date of the repository construction Ist phase finish is planned on 2027.

The final converting of the bituminised waste Storage Facility into repository and finalisation of engineering barriers construction works is planned when neighbourhood buildings will be demolished. Oriented date on 2035.

Next steps for 2022-2023:

  • After the decision of VATESI on Concept of the Repository and Repository site evaluation report work of project will continued.
  • Review report of bituminized waste SF transformation into a repository site assessment report and Concept of the Repository report will be submitted to TSO experts on June 2022.
  • Decision of VATESI on Concept of the Repository and Repository site evaluation report on June 2022.
  • Implementation of Environmental impact assessment on 2022-2023.

Project B20 are funding from European Commission and administered by the Central Project Management Agency (CPMA).