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Lithuanians near old nuclear plant fear for their lives via The Washington Times

The parking lot outside the atomic power plant is weedy and potholed. Bus stops that once teemed with hundreds of workers are eerily empty.

Yet the stillness at Ignalina, a Lithuanian nuclear plant built in the 1980s Soviet era, belies an unsettling fact: There is still nuclear fuel inside one of its two reactors, three years after it was shut due to safety concerns.

A temporary storage facility for spent fuel and radioactive waste is four years behind schedule, creating a money drain at a time when the 27-nation European Union grapples with a crippling economic crisis.

States don’t need EU permission to build nuclear plants, but they need to abide by its safety rules, and the problems at Ignalina have provoked threats from the EU to cut the funding promised for dismantling it.


Still, there are dangers of smaller releases of radioactivity into the air or soil, while workers face exposure to lethal doses.

In October 2010, radioactive pipes connected with Reactor 1 in Ignalina burst during cleaning, leaking several hundred tons of radioactive sludge.

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