Lithuania's nuclear power plant went offline 10 years ago, on December 31, 2009. Full decommissioning of the Ignalina nuclear power plant will take nearly two more decades to complete and turn the 80-hectare territory into “a green meadow”, according to the minister of energy.
About a third of nuclear waste held at the facility has been processed and taken away over the last decade, says Energy Minister Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, and 70 percent of spent nuclear fuel has been loaded into special storage.
“We are definitely on schedule, ahead of it in some respects,” Vaičiūnas has told LRT RADIO. “The decommissioning is to be completed in 2038, when a green meadow will be all that remains in the 80-hectare territory.”
The Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant launched in 1983 near the border with Belarus. Shutting down the plant was part of Lithuania's accession deal with the European Union.
When decommissioning started, over 2,000 people were working at the facility.
At one point, there were plans to build a new nuclear plant to replace the old one, but the initiative was rejected in a referendum in 2012.