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VATESI Annual Report 2019

State Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate (VATESI) has published its Annual Report 2019 “Nuclear Power Safety in Lithuania”.

Main areas of activity

Efforts of VATESI specialists in 2019 were focused on the supervision of the safety  of the permanently shut-down power units of Ignalina NPP and their decommissioning, the safety during construction and operation of radioactive waste management facilities, the compliance with non-proliferation commitments undertaken by Lithuania, as well as to consistently upgrade the framework of nuclear safety regulation and supervision and be prepared for potential nuclear and radiological incidents.

Having accumulated more than 28 years of experience in the field of state supervision and regulation of nuclear safety, in 2019 VATESI successfully performed its functions and implemented all the tasks and measures set in the strategic action plan.

VATESI kept working on the implementation of the recommendations and suggestions made in the mission reports of IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) and International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS), and preparations for the IRRS follow-up mission.

In 2019, together with 17 other Lithuanian authorities, VATESI participated in a functional civil protection exercise on the national level that lasted four days. A nuclear incident at Belarus Nuclear Power Plant in Ostrovets was simulated during the exercise.

Based on the importance of safety recommendations provided by European experts, VATESI takes the position that the Belarusian NPP power units should not be commissioned until all the recommendations of international experts have been properly implemented and all other environmental and nuclear safety related questions have been answered.

Licenses and permits

In 2019, VATESI issued 1 permit and amended 1 license in the nuclear safety area. Other 12 licenses and permits were amended to implement new provisions of the Law on Nuclear Safety. Also, VATESI issued 2 licenses under the Law of Radiation Protection and approved 3 applications for permits for transportation of radioactive waste classified as nuclear material.

Supervision of economic entities

In 2019 VATESI specialists carried out 57 inspections of the activities of economic entities. During the inspections 16 violations were identified, 7 of them were rectified at the time of drafting the inspection reports. Other violations are rectified in a timely and proper manner.

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 2019, there were no unusual events that would have had impact on ensuring nuclear safety. Nuclear safety at Lithuanian nuclear power facilities is adequately ensured.

Implementation of international commitments and international cooperation

In 2019, VATESI submitted the 8th Lithuanian National Report, developed with other Lithuanian institutions, for review by other Contracting Parties of the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) demonstrating that Lithuania undertook all the necessary measures and ensured a high level of nuclear safety both at shut-down Ignalina NPP units and spent fuel storage facilities, as well as other nuclear facilities and submitted answers to the received questions. As well, reports of other CNS Contracting Parties were also assessed and questions raised, with a special focus on facilities in neighbouring countries.

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 2019 VATESI specialists represented the national interests participating in the activities of international organizations: they continued works in various working groups 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.

Public meetings

In the autumn of 2019, three meetings were held in the towns of Ignalina, Zarasai and Visaginas, during which experts of VATESI and Radiation Protection Centre overviewed the radiological impact of nuclear facilities on the population and the environment. During those meetings the residents were introduced with the principles of radioactive waste management, nuclear facilities in Lithuania, the decommissioning process of the Ignalina NPP. Also, safety evaluation process of the decommissioning projects and inspection results were presented and questions regarding nuclear and radiation safety issues were answered.

The publication of VATESI Annual Report 2019 also provides information on the possibilities of public participation in decision making process in nuclear energy area and presents infographics on various topics.

VATESI Annual Report 2019