In Lithuania all the spent nuclear fuel (SNF) came from operation of the Ignalina nuclear power plant with two reactors of RBMK type (RBMK is a Russian acronym for 'Channelized Large Power Reactor' which is a water-cooled graphite-moderated reactor: RBMK-1500). Approximately 22,000 SNF assemblies are due for geological disposal in Lithuania. Currently it is envisaged that SNF will be stored in dry interim storage facilities (new and existing) for at least 50 y prior to possible deep geological disposal.
The decision on the final SNF management option (disposal in a national repository, disposal in regional repositories, etc.) has not yet been made but some investigations of the possibilities to dispose of the SNF in Lithuania have been initiated. With the support of Swedish experts, analysis of possible geological formations for SNF disposal was performed and the existence of potentially suitable formations agreed. The geological formations prioritized as prospective include the crystalline rocks in southern Lithuania and two clayey formations: the Lower Triassic clay formation and the Lower Cambrian Baltic Group clay formation, with priority given to the Lower Triassic clay formation.
This paper presents the main aspects of the research and other activities undertaken over the past decade in the field of SNF disposal: international cooperation; current status and plans for the Lithuanian national program; further investigations required; and competence developments.