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Lithuania’s Energy Future

Lithuania’s Energy Future

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Lithuania’s Energy Future

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  1. Lithuania’s Energy Future The end of nuclear power: Where to turn now? Brigham Leslie Geography 308

  2. Lithuanian Energy • Extremely important to the country • 14% of all industrial employees • 25% of the of the total assets of the country’s enterprises • Significant portion of Lithuania’s export profits • 6.3 billion kWh of electricity exported in 2003

  3. Brief History Brief History • In the mid 1980’s, under Soviet rule, two nuclear power reactors were built at Ignalina, northeast of the capital of Vilinus. • Built to supply the northwest region of the USSR. • When Lithuania gained independence in 1991, the country assumed full responsibility of the plant.

  4. Brief history • For 15 years, the two nuclear power reactors at Ignalina accounted for an average of 73% of Lithuania’s electricity generation, the highest percentage of any country in the world. Set world record in 1993 for the share of nuclear-generated electricity in one country at 88.1%

  5. Ignalina • Ignalina Power plant (INPP) • Two RBMK 1500, 1350MWe reactor units • Built out of the Chernobyl mold • Graphite Reactors • Two most powerful nuclear reactors in Soviet history. INPP generates far more power and electricity than is needed for domestic use

  6. Acceptance into the EU • Lithuania officially accepted in 2004 • Extensive research in the country’s energy sector • 2002 (by EU’s orders) the Seimus (Parliament) adopted a revised version of The Lithuanian National Energy Strategy. • New strategy called for the decommissioning of both Ignalina’s nuclear power reactors

  7. Decommissioning of Ignalina • Until recently, INPP employed close to 5,000 people • Devastating blow to the surrounding community • Only ≈ 800 jobs retained from the original 5,000 • Could possibly create new, different jobs

  8. Decommissioning process • Decommissioning: controlled dismantling, removal, processing, and storage of all radioactive or contaminated wastes • Includes buildings, equipment, materials, even office supplies • Three main steps in the process

  9. Step 1: Planning and Preparation • Building of support facilities to allow first reactor to close • Boiler plants • Construction of storage facilities to store materials deemed reusable • Construction of radioactive/contaminated waste storage • Could include a half-mile deep pit (similar to a mine shaft.) • Similar to Yucca Mountain in Nevada

  10. Step 2: Fuel Removal & Dismantling • Incredibly expensive • EU allocated 200 million euros to the project • Highly technical • Done remotely, using purpose-built robots • Time consuming • De-fueling of the units alone will take nearly 4 years • Entire decommissioning process will take ≈30 years

  11. Step 3: Waste Handling and Storage • As waste is removed, graded on radioactivity • Stored accordingly • Three options, all expensive and complicated • 1.) Burry it in Lithuania • 2.) Export the waste abroad • 3.) Build a regional repository with cooperation from neighboring countries

  12. Burying the Waste in Lithuania • Philosophical question…Is it safe? • 700,000 years from some radioactive waste to loose it dangerous qualities • Burial site? • Locals express NIMBY attitude • Size of Lithuania comparable to West Virginia so the entire nation could be at risk • Final disposal complicated • Where, what, who and how

  13. Exporting the Waste • Huge Problem for Lithuania • Option ignored due to weak financial capabilities • Risk of transporting wastes • Accidents, terrorism, and theft • Who to export it to? • Are they capable of safe storage • Some countries would offer to purchase the waste with no plan for disposal • Ability to make nuclear bombs • If some state does accept, it would cost billions

  14. Regional Repository • Again, is it safe? • Need cooperation of neighboring countries • Difficult due to ethnic and historical resentment • High levels of fear and skepticism stemming from the Chernobyl incident in Ukraine • Only viable for the next 50 years…then what?

  15. Other Energy Sources • Currently, including hydro, only 7.9% generated by renewable resources • Lithuania has almost no primary energy resources • Primary energy supply dominated by Russian Imports All crude oil, natural gas, and nuclear fuel imported solely from Russian sources

  16. New Energy Sources in Lithuania • Development of new sources extremely important due to the EU’s energy policy • Requires 7% of electricity consumed domestically to come from renewable and waste resources • Kyoto Protocol emphasis on emissions control and sustainable energy

  17. Renewable Energy Sources • Loss in supply means a increase in energy prices • With Lithuania’s energy supply reduced by over 1/3, renewable sources now extremely important • Viable options • Wood, straw, peat, solar, bio-fuel, wind, and geo-thermal energy

  18. Renewable Energy Sources Lithuanian RE Sources Table courtesy of: European Renewable Energy Council

  19. Wood as an Energy Source • Over 30% of land covered with forests • Wood-based boiler plants dominate RE projects • Aprox. 250MW • Mainly for district heating use • Expected to increase

  20. Peat for Fuel • Peatlands are widespread • Especially in the west and southeast • Ranks 3rd in mineral commodities produced • Briquettes used to heat homes • Also expected to increase www.peatlandsni.gov.uk/ history/fuel.htm

  21. Bio-fuel in Lithuania • Bio-fuel produced mainly by rapeseeds • 34 thousand tons/year of ethanol production • Capacity to produce twice as large • EU requires 5.75% of transport fuels to come from bio-fuel news.bbc.co.uk/.../ uk/newsid_753000/753401.stm

  22. Solar Energy • Used domestically to heat water • Passive-solar energy to heat homes through windows • Solar drying of agriculture products • Too expensive to be economically viable, at least for now www.statvoks.no/nicole/ ecole_background.htm

  23. Geo-thermal Energy • Geothermal areas cover 80% of Lithuania. • Geothermal plant in Klaipeda • Rated capacity of 41MW • Another proposed plant in Baisiogala www.phschool.com/.../ renewable_energy.html

  24. Wind Power Baltic Wind Atlas • Expected to become important “green energy” source • By 2010, 170MW capacities of wind turbines will be installed in Lithuania Important to the coastal region’s future development

  25. Conclusion • Funding for the energy sector overhaul provided by the EU. • Privatization of the energy sector at 90% • International investments into energy sector • Need to import technologies and skilled workers • Lithuania forced to eliminate nuclear power quickly • Results in energy price spike, unhappy citizens • Lithuanians have yet to face the enormous costs of waste disposal • Developing, rather poor country • Much room for the development of renewable technologies

  26. Conclusion • Strict EU energy policy will be tough to meet for Lithuania • Seimus optimistic that with domestic and foreign support, country will be on pace with EU’s requirements

  27. Bibliography • Websites • DTI 2004 Energy Projects • http://www.energyprojects.co.uk/wind_energy_lt.htm • World Energy Council • http://www.worldenergy.org/wec-geis/edc/countries/Lithuania.asp • Department of Energy-USA • http://www.fe.doe.gov/international/CentralEastern%20Europe/lithover.html • Lithuanian State of the Environment 2001 • http://www.am.lt/EN/VI/files/0.919984001036055560.pdf • CIA World Factbook • http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/lh.html • Ministry of Environment-Lithuania • http://www.am.lt/EN/VI/ • Ignalina Power Plant • http://www.iae.lt/