New Visaginas Nuclear Power Plant Project in Lithuania moves forward
Visagino Atomine Elektrine (VAE ) is a subsidiary of the national electricity company LEO LT, AB. It was established on 28 August 2008. The new company has been carrying out preparatory work for the new Visaginas NPP construction project. This includes an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), a technology acknowledgment and assessment report, a tranportation study, an assesment of construction sites, etc. This work is important for the timely implementation of the procurement tender process and for ensuring that the most advanced reactor technology available is chosen. More information about the new Visaginas NPP construction project is available at: www.vae.lt/.
Before the Visaginas NPP Project Company was established, preparatory work had been carried out, since the end of 2006, by Lietuvos Energija AB’s, Nuclear Energy Department.
At the moment one of our priorities is building a team of highly qualified specialists. We recruite employees not only from Lithuania, but internationally as well,“ – said Mr. Marius Grinevičius, Visagino Atominė Elektrinė‘s General Director, who has been working on the new NPP project in Lithuania almost for two years. According to him, the VAE team working on the project will have risen to around 50-60 professionals by March 2009.
The new Visaginas NPP will be built near to the Ignalina NPP, on Lake Druksiai, in the Visaginas Municipality of North Eastern Lithuania.
Figure 1. Location of the New Visaginas NPP.
In spring 2007, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure was started for the construction of the New Visaginas NPP that will be located next to the present Ignalina NPP. The EIA Programme was developed on 26 July 2007 after thorough coordination with municipaln national and international bodies. It was approved on 15 November 2007 by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania.
The EIA Report assessed the potential effects on the environment of the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant with a capacity of up to 3,400 MW – it looked at the possible impact on residents, the socio-economic environment, water systems, air quality, fauna and flora, protected zones, cultural heritage, etc. It also assessed alternatives to the project: two possible construction sites at the Ignalina NPP were looked at; various technological alternatives such as boiled water, pressurized water, pressurized heavy water and alternative cooling methods were assessed. The environmental impact of the „zero alternative“ – not building a nuclear power plant at all – was also assessed.
Photomontages of the various proposed alternatives for the new Visaginas NPP project were prepared for the EIA Report (see below).
Figure 2. Photomontage of Visaginas NPP alternatives.
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report that was more than a half of year in the making provided an answer to a crucial question: it concluded that a new Visaginas NPP in Lithuania is both feasible and acceptable from an environmental point of view. The EIA Report was conducted by a consortium made up of the Finnish company Poyry Energy Oy and the Lithuanian Energy Institute.
A final decision on the acceptance of a new Visaginas NPP project will be taken by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania during the first quarter of 2009, after the EIA report has been submitted for consideration to the public, both in Lithuania and abroad.
According to Mr. Marius Grinevičius, a significant stage in the preparatory work of the Visaginas NPP project has been completed and things as they stand are ready to proceed.