A statement made by Russian nuclear minister, Yevgeny Adamov, in Murmansk leaves plans for a new nuclear power plant in the Kola Peninsula in limbo.
"Construction of the new reactors at the Kola NPP is inexpedient at this point," Adamov told Interfax yesterday. He said the main investment must be used for an upgrade of the existing reactors in order to prolong the plant’s life 10-15 years. The construction site for a new Kola plant is eight kilometres from the existing one. KNPP-2 was slated to have three VVER-640 reactors.
Kola Nuclear Power Plant operates on four VVER-440 reactors commissioned in 1973, 1974, 1981 and 1984 respectively. The two oldest reactors, now 26 and 25 years old, were originally to be shut down in 2003 and 2004. The engineers of Kola NPP are working on gaining a new lease on a longer service life for these reactors, some 5-7 years beyond 2004. The minister stressed that investment in the construction of new nuclear power plants will be prioritised in the regions strapped with energy shortages.
"We can come back, perhaps in three years, to the question of the Kola-2 NPP completion, but only in case there are no other alternatives to replace Kola NPP," Interfax quoted Adamov as saying. Last month, officials from the Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy said money would be earmarked primarily to complete reactor projects for Rostov, Kalinin and Kursk.
Russia currently has nine nuclear power plants with 29 reactor units in operation.