Nobody has ever dismantled Russian RBMK-class reactors that were built in the eighties and were the most powerful in the world, therefore, this project is of particular importance for Lithuania.

"It's the key project for dismantling the reactors. What's been done so far is simple dismantling work done in easier accessible and less polluted areas, and dismantling the reactors is the key and the hardest part of the work," Audrius Kamienas, head of the Ignalina NPP, told BNS Lithuania.

The Ignalina NPP is set to call a tender for designers and consultants on Dec 19, and the winner will be required to produce a concept by 2023 on how to dismantle the first and second reactors.

To attract the best experts and international companies with the greatest experience, representatives of the Ignalina NPP last year met with representatives of 46 companies from Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Japan, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania.

Under the plan, Ignalina's first reactor would be dismantled in 2027, followed by the second in 2029. Separate tenders would be called for this work.

Two major decommissioning projects have already been implemented at the Ignalina NPP as a spent nuclear fuel repository has been built for 190 million euros and a solid nuclear waste repository has been constructed for 123 million euros by a consortium of German companies Nukem Technologies and GNS.

The Ignalina NPP is set to soon call a tender for the construction of a nuclear waste disposal facility for around 100 million euros.

Around a third of equipment and constructions (more than 50,000 tons) has been dismantled at the Ignalna NPP.

Lithuania shut down the Ignalina NPP completely at the end of 2009 in line with its EU accession commitments, and its decommissioning is expected to be completed by 2038.