According to the statement, fuel assemblies which have been deformed in the reactor cores at the two-unit station or have cladding defects are considered “damaged”.
Defects also occurred during transportation of fuel assemblies and during operations like loading and unloading from the reactor, and transferring and storage in the spent fuel pools.
Damaged fuel handling is a technically complex and more time-consuming technological process, Ignalina said.
The station said a total of 182 damaged fuel assemblies are being stored at Ignalina-1 and 185 at Ignalina-2. All damaged fuel will be ultimately transferred to 22 spent fuel casks out of 190 planned for the interim spent fuel repository.
Handling of damaged fuel at Unit 1 should be completed in late August 2021, at Unit 2 in early October 2022. By the end of 2022, all damaged fuel is scheduled to be removed from the two units.
In August 2020, Ignalina reported that all undamaged spent fuel had been successfully removed from Unit 1, with only damaged assemblies left to handle.
Ignalina-1 was shut down in December 2004 and Ignalina-2 in December 2009. Both were Soviet-era RBMK units, which were retired permanently in line with requirements for Lithuania’s membership of the EU.
In March 2020, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which manages overseas funding for the decommissioning of Ignalina, said the process was well advanced.
The interim storage facility for spent fuel opened in October 2016 and has since received a total of 142 casks with spent fuel assemblies from the Ignalina reactors and storage pools.