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VATESI Annual Report 2018

State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) has published its Annual Report 2018 “Nuclear Power Safety in Lithuania”.

Main areas of activity

In 2018 efforts of VATESI specialists were focused on the oversight of the safety of the permanently shut-down Ignalina NPP units and their decommissioning, the construction and operation of radioactive waste management facilities, oversight of the implementation of international nuclear non-proliferation commitments undertaken by the Republic of Lithuania, consistent improvement of the regulatory framework for nuclear energy safety, emergency  preparedness for possible nuclear and radiological accidents in Lithuania and abroad. These priorities of VATESI's activities in the nearest future will remain the same.

Licenses and permits, certificates

In 2018, VATESI renewed 1 licence for activities under the Law on Nuclear Safety and issued 6 licences and 1 permit under the Law on Radiation Protection. Also, the attestation commissions formed by VATESI certified 3 persons seeking the right to train in radiation protection and 7 senior executives at Lithuania’s nuclear facilities.   

Supervision of economic entities

In 2018 VATESI specialists carried out 60 inspections of the activities of economic entities. During the inspections 13 violations were identified, 9 of them were eliminated in the same year. In total, 24 violations were eliminated by economic entities during the indicated period.

It is important to note that no violations or inconsistencies were found that could have directly caused excessive occupational exposure doses, deterioration of barriers confining radionuclides or suppressing ionising radiation, degradation of characteristics of devices important to safety, activity of radionuclides released to the environment that exceed the limit values set forth, or non-compliance with related safe operation conditions.

Unusual events

In 2018, there were no events that would have had impact on ensuring nuclear safety. According to VATESI requirements for information about unusual events, in 2018, 2 unusual events at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant and 1 event at the Maišiagala Radioactive Waste Storage Facility were reported. Events were rated below the scale (0 level) on the International Nuclear Events Scale (INES). Reported unusual events had no impact on safety, the dose limits of operating personnel were not exceeded and there were no identified releases of radioactive material into the environment. The low number of unusual events that have no impact on safety indicates that nuclear safety is adequately ensured in Lithuanian nuclear facilities.

International cooperation and implementation of international commitments

On May 2018, the Sixth 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. Contracting parties indicated that Lithuania properly implements obligations of the Convention and duly ensures the safety of spent fuel and radioactive waste management.

Nuclear materials located in the Republic of Lithuania, dual-use nuclear goods, 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 annual IAEA report on the implementation of safeguards.

Participation in the process of safety assessment of nuclear power plants in neighbouring countries  

In 2018, VATESI specialists together with experts of the nuclear safety and radiation protection institutions of the European Union (EU) countries reviewed Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant (Belarusian NPP) design and found that it had weaknesses and that the safety of this nuclear facility still under construction had to be improved. VATESI specialists, taking part in this process, consider that, given the proximity of this facility to Lithuanian capital Vilnius, all recommendations presented during the review of the stress test report of the Belarusian NPP should be implemented before the nuclear power plant commences operations and the neighbouring country must ensure that the facility under construction would meet all safety requirements. VATESI specialists together with other Lithuanian and international institutions are working by consistently analysing and assessing the available information, they are involved in emergency preparedness planning and preparation activities in order to ensure the safety of the Lithuanian residents.

VATESI Annual Report 2018