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VATESI annual publication “Nuclear Power Safety in Lithuania”

Lithuanian State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) has issued annual publication “Nuclear Power Safety in Lithuania” representing its activities in 2021.  

Main areas of activity

In 2021, the State Nuclear Safety Inspectorate celebrated its 30th anniversary. Over three decades of experience in safety regulation and the knowledge of its competent experts allow VATESI to successfully address decommissioning of nuclear energy facilities, radioactive waste management, emergency preparedness, nuclear material control, nuclear security and other subjects related to the regulation and supervision of nuclear power safety, thus protecting the public and the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation.

Licences, permits, certification

In 2021, VATESI issued two new licences and one permit in the area of nuclear energy activities, related to the nuclear facility decommissioning and dismantling and the keeping and use of the small amount nuclear and other fissile materials. Two licences were amended, and the lists of documents justifying the safety of licensed activities were updated and approved. Moreover, VATESI issued six new licences in the area of nuclear energy activities with radiation sources, and one temporary permit for activities in the ionising radiation environment at a nuclear facility, revoked one licence and lifted suspension of another license based on the requests of license holders. In 2021, VATESI analysed and approved nine applications for transportation permits of radioactive material classified as nuclear material.

Supervision of economic entities

In 2021, VATESI specialists carried out 62 inspections of the activities of economic entities. During the inspections 18 violations were identified, 11 of them were minor. All the violations were rectified during the inspections or at the time of drafting the inspection reports. The violations do not have direct harmful effects of ionising radiation on population or the environment, but are related to the prevention of such effects.

Unusual events

In 2021, 8 unusual events registered at Ignalina NPP were rated below the scale (0 level) on the International Nuclear Events Scale (INES) and had no impact on safety. Nuclear safety at Lithuanian nuclear power facilities is adequately ensured.

Strengthening emergency preparedness

Declared a threat to Lithuania’s national security, Belarusian NPP has started its first unit operation. However, its erratic operation, equipment failures and the resulting unplanned outages show that the construction focus was on speeding up scheduled works rather than addressing safety issues. In order to respond to the information needs of the Lithuanian population and to protect it adequately, VATESI assess information about unplanned outages of Belarusian NPP, verify facts, provide information to the public, reinforce level of emergency preparedness, as well as strengthen interaction with the other responsible authorities. Together with other authorities, VATESI participate in international support projects that will shortly enable us to acquire the necessary tools for forecasting unusual radiological situations.

Implementation of international commitments and international cooperation

In the area of non-proliferation, Lithuania's commitments are being properly implemented – nuclear materials located in the Republic of Lithuania, dual-use nuclear items, research and development related to the nuclear fuel cycle are used only for peaceful purposes. This conclusion is based on the results of inspections carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors and is stated in IAEA report on the implementation of safeguards.

In 2021, VATESI participated in Belarus National Action Plan Peer Review arranged by ENSREG on the implementation of the stress test recommendations at Belarusian NPP. VATESI specialists continued works in working groups of various international organizations aimed at continuously improving the level of nuclear safety, physical security, and radiation protection in Lithuania, Europe and worldwide, exchanged experience and the best practice in nuclear activity regulation and supervision.

VATESI Annual Report 2021