Kursk NPP reactor emergency shut down

According to the statement released by Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, the incident occurred at 01:44 Moscow time on February 20 (10:44 G.M.T., February 19). The first reactor unit shut down as the protection system of the second turbine generator was activated automatically. The reason to the incident were flaws in the energy supply to the reactor installation.

Kursk NPP is operating four RBMK-1000 reactors. The two oldest reactors are to be taken out of operation by 2006 and 2008. The fifth unit of RBMK-type reactor is under construction, some 70% of completion.

On January 14 this year, reactor unit no.2 of Kursk NPP shut down automatically due to the leaks in the compressed air system. Similar incident on the reactor unit no.2 occurred in the beginning of September 1997.

The first reactor unit of Kursk NPP has undergone safety upgrade, the upgrade works on the second unit are still underway.

The completion of the fifth RBMK reactor unit at Kursk is a matter of time. Rosenergoatom Concern stated this year that the investment emphasis in 1998 will rest on Kursk and Rostov NPPs.

Igor Kudrik

igor@bellona.no