About Maišiagala radioactive waste transportation to INPP

21 March,
About Maišiagala radioactive waste transportation to INPP

After State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) announces the draft of decision to issue the Maišiagala Radioactive Waste Storage Facility (RWSF) decommissioning license, Ignalina NPP started to receive a lot of questions about the Maišiagala RWSF. So here is brief information about Maišiagala RWSF and why radioactive waste from it has to be transported to Ignalina NPP.

Maišiagala RWSF is a 200 m³ capacity monolithic reinforced concrete basement, located at a depth of 3 metres, in Bartkuškis forest of Žalioji forestry, Širvintos district (9 km from Maišiagala to the northeast, and 40 km from Vilnius). From 1963 to 1989, unsorted radioactive waste from industrial, medical and scientific institutions and military units was collected in Maišiagala RWSF. Such storage facilities have been built in many parts of the former Soviet Union and in Eastern European countries. In 1989, the storage facility was closed and conserved due to non-compliance with modern environmental protection requirements.

This type of storage facilities must be decommissioned throughout the EU and the waste disposed of safely. According to the experts, Maišiagala RWSF cannot be the final storage site for the waste contained therein. Therefore, a decision was made to decommission the Maišiagala RWSF and to transport the radioactive waste contained therein to the Ignalina NPP for storage and disposal. The Maišiagala RWSF is considered as a nuclear facility under the supervision of the Ignalina NPP. The storage facility has a relatively small amount of radioactive waste – about 120 m3, but this waste is of various types: short-lived very low-level radioactive, short-lived low and intermediate level radioactive and long-lived radioactive waste. For final disposal, the waste must be sorted, packed in special packages, and placed in Ignalina NPP radioactive waste repositories - in a separate repository for each type of waste.

It is planned to demolish the storage area and release from its radiation control by the end of 2023. We would like to emphasize that the radioactive waste in the Maišiagala storage facility was accumulated during the Soviet era and must be properly disposed of. Today, such radioactive waste from small producers is transported and disposed of at the Ignalina NPP. Statements and comments in the public sphere that waste from foreign countries will be transported to INPP storage facilities and repositories are incorrect and misleading. The Law on Radioactive Waste Management of the Republic of Lithuania prohibits the import and storage of radioactive waste from foreign countries in the territory of Lithuania. 

The project is financed by the European Union Cohesion Fund