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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 19.08.2019, 07:00

Lithuanian N-plant CEO expects strong competition for repository contract

BC, Vilnius, 14.03.2019.Print version
The chief executive officer of Lithuania's Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) anticipates strong competition among potential contractors for the construction of a 100-million-euro near surface repository for low and intermediate level short-lived radioactive waste, informed LETA/BNS.

The plant, which was shut down a decade ago and is now being decommissioned, invited bids for the contract on Thursday. 

Andrius Kamienas says there has been interest in the project known as B25-2.  

"(The project has attracted) interest from companies working in this field and doing similar things. Similar facilities are also under construction in Belgium, France and Bulgaria," he told. 

The CEO said potential contractors will have to meet high requirements, including experience in projects of similar scope, adding that some Lithuanian companies are capable of carrying out such a project, too. 

The INPP expects to select the winning bidder and sign the contract by the end of this year.

Given the complexity of the project, the company said it is giving potential bidders four months, setting July 9 as the deadline for submitting bids. 

The INPP had planned to launch the public procurement procedure for the repository, where waste could be stored for 300 years, back in the fall of 2018 after selecting a supervision engineer, but failed to find one. 

Kamienas told in February that the tendering procedures would separate and bids from construction contractors would be invited without selecting a supervision engineer.

The winning bidder will have to build by 2023-2024 two groups of reinforced concrete vaults for a final disposal of up to 70,000 cubic meters of processed, packed in concrete containers and cemented radioactive waste, the INPP said in a press release. 

The disposal of radioactive waste in the repository will continue until 2038, when the INPP decommissioning is expected to be completed. 

If needed, the third group of reinforced concrete vaults will be built in the future, increasing the repository's total capacity to around 100,000 cubic meters of packages.

The CEO told on Thursday that the public procurement procedure for selecting a supervision engineer would be launched next week.

The near surface repository has been designed by a consortium of Specialus Montazas-NTP, the French National Radioactive Waste Agency (ANDRA) and the Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI) under a contract worth 10.5 mln euros.

Lithuanian Energy Minister Zygimantas Vaiciunas last year invited Japan's Hitachi and Toshiba, as well as large European energy companies, to bid for the repository contract.

The minister said he wanted to attract interest from as many global companies as possible to ensure strong competition. 

The repository project is important in terms of national security, which means that the future contractor will have to be cleared by the government to prevent the repetition of a situation where millions of euros' worth of INPP contracts were won by Germany's Nukem, which later came under control of Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Russia's nuclear energy giant Rosatom

Nukem Technologies, in consortium with Germany's GNS, carried out two Ignalina decommissioning projects: a 190-million-euro interim spent nuclear fuel storage facility and a 123-million-euro solid radioactive waste storage complex.

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