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Next in turn Review Meeting of Joint Convention took place in Vienna

Logo of the meeting

On June 27 – July 8 2022 next in turn Review Meeting of Contracting Parties of the Joint Convention on the safety of spent nuclear fuel and on the safety of radioactive waste management took place in Vienna, in the premises of IAEA with participation of more than 750 representatives from 76 countries.

On June 27, Lithuanian delegation presented national report on the work done in the past four years (the usual cycle of meetings is three years, but due to the pandemic this time it was longer) in the field of safe management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.  
Lithuanian national report contains information on spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management legislation, licensing process of waste management facilities, the decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant and the Maišiagala radioactive waste storage facility, licensing process of disused radioactive sealed sources management and disused radioactive sealed sources management practises, safety improvement measures of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management.

Contracting Parties submitted questions for Lithuanian national report on implementation of radioactive waste management program, financing of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management, preparation to implement the project on deep geological repository, Maišiagala storage facility decommissioning plan, decommissioning of Ignalina NPP, management of graphite, bituminised waste storage facility, management of Ignalina NPP human recourses. Contracting Parties also were interested on how public is informed about radioactive waste management and implementation of the project of deep geological repository and if public is involved into the licencing process of radioactive waste management facilities.   

Before the meeting, Lithuania selfidentified five challenges, which Lithuania faces during management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste and decommissioning of Ignalina NPP. The challenges are related to the timely implementation of the decommissioning plan, preparation of reactor core dismantling and graphite management technologies, solutions for management of contaminated concrete from demolished buildings, construction of a low and medium radioactive waste disposal facility, and revision of the funding system for the deep disposal facility project. Other Contracting Parties agreed with the proposed challenges.

During the Meeting, it was concluded that Lithuania properly implements obligations of Joint Convention.

Lithuania has provided questions to national reports of other countries and Lithuanian delegation had opportunity to ask additional question after presentations of national reports during the Review Meeting. Considering the received answers, Lithuania submitted additional questions to the delegation of Belarus after its national presentation. The representatives of Lithuania paid attention to the fact that it is necessary to finally resolve the issues of reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from Belarusian NPP, as well as final management of correspondent radioactive waste, selection and arrangement of radioactive waste disposal sites, and the independence of the regulatory authority in preparing the radioactive waste management strategy.

During Review Meeting, many Contracting Parties, including Lithuania, expressed concern about the war in Ukraine and the need to ensure the safety of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management facilities in such extraordinary circumstances, and also stated that military actions clearly disregard the goals of the Joint Convention.

Summarizing the results of the Review Meeting of the Joint Convention, it was stated that rising number of countries are joining the Joint Convention and thus countries are taking responsibility for the responsible management of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. It was also noted that progress is being made in many areas of the safety of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management. When implementing measures to improve safety, there are often identified challenges for countries and the Joint Convention provides an opportunity to share knowledge and experience on how to overcome these challenges.

Also it was decided that the Contracting Parties should discuss the implementation of the following relevant measures during the next Review Meeting:  sufficiency of staffing  and ensuring its competence in relation to the implementation of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste management programs; public involvement in the implementation of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel programs; aging management of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel packaging and equipment, taking into account the extended storage period; solutions for the long-term management of disused sealed radioactive sources, including sustainable regional and multilateral solutions. The Contracting Parties will have to provide information on the listed areas in the national reports of the next review meeting.

Delegation of Republic of Lithuania consisted of representatives of State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Radiation Protection Centre, SE Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant and Permanent Mission of the Republic of Lithuania to the International Organizations in Vienna.

More information about Joint Convention