Navigation path

Study on Pool Type Research Reactors In Countries Assisted by the Phare Programme

Study on Pool Type Research Reactors In Countries Assisted by the Phare Programme


Beneficiary Organisation details

Nuclear Regulatory Agency (Bulgaria)

Project Aims

The objectives of this study were, for each of the two Soviet designed, IRT, pool-type research reactor complexes in Latvia and Bulgaria:

  • Phase 1: to evaluate the current status of the management of spent fuel, the management of radioactive wastes and the plans for decommissioning;
  • Phase 2: to put forward recommendations for future strategies for the continued safe management of spent fuel, for continued safe management of radioactive wastes and for safe decommissioning to ‘greenfield’ status such that the site can be released from the requirements of the relevant national Atomic Law.

Project Results

The main findings of the project are summarised in the following paragraphs:

  • Nuclear Safety: In general, where safety concerns were expressed, the updating of the safety systems should be carried out according to the relevant European and IAEA standards. In these fields, the extensive use of feedback and reassessment methods was recommended.
  • Spent Fuel: At both reactors, all the spent fuel was stored in cooling ponds with very limited deterioration to date. All the options for interim storage of spent fuel considered were based on well proven technology, and recommendations have been made for dry storage of the fuel on an interim basis in each of the reactors. In the longer term the reprocessing of fuel, possibly in Russia, including transport to the fuel and the return of wastes would be a sensible option.
  • Waste Management: In Latvia, which has a small nuclear community, the regulatory framework was developing well along the lines of international best practice. In both countries there was a need for temporary facilities on the reactor sites to support the size reduction, packaging, conditioning and transportation of wastes either to interim storage in Bulgaria or to the national disposal facility in the case of Latvia.
  • Decommissioning: By reactor decommissioning standards, the decommissioning of IRT pool-type research reactors is a relatively straightforward task. The developing policy on decommissioning generally follows IAEA guidelines. General plans for decommissioning the two research reactors have been prepared by both organisations, either by the operators or as part of new initiatives IAEA or commercial contracts. In general, the existing plans acknowledged IAEA guidance. Both countries had definite plans for the outcome of decommissioning.

Further Project Results

a) See attached file and
b) Further information on the project results could be sought from the beneficiary organisations.

General Information

Study on Pool Type Research Reactors In Countries Assisted by the Phare Programme
Budget year: 
Types of activities: 
Fuel Cycle
Waste Management
IRT-2000 research reactor
Salaspils Research Reactor
Installation types: 
IRT Pool-type research reactor
Duration (months): 
IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)
Initec Energia
Salaspils Nuclear Research Centre(Latvian Academy of Sciences),INRNE(Bulgaria)
Old reference: 
Effective contract date: 
Closure date: