Second reactor stop in three months

Kola nuclear power plant. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Oldest reactor at Kola nuclear power plant automatically shut-down Saturday morning. On Monday, the plant was awarded for being the safest in Russia.


The 40-year old reactor No. 1 at Kola nuclear power plant (Kola NPP) was automatically shut down at 03:43 on January 12 by the protection switching power transformer. No violations of the safety systems took place, reads a short note posted by the nuclear power plant. Background radiation is said to be normal. 

Commissioned in 1973, the unit is the oldest pressure water reactor of the VVER-440/230 design still in operation in Europe. The reactor was included to the network again late Saturday evening, the press-centre of the power plant reports

This is the second time in three months that this oldest of Kola NPP’s four reactors has been switched off. Last automatic shutdown took place on November 1, only 23 hours after the reactor was restarted again after a period of being out of operation. The two oldest reactors are Kola NPP have been criticized for lack of safety by both Nordic authorities and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

On Monday, the news portal B-port in Murmansk reported that Kola NPP has been awarded the prize for having the best safety culture among all Russia’s nuclear power plants in 2012. A special created commission of experts decided that the most significant results in the sphere of safety culture in the period from October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012 were made by Kola NPP. The two automatic shutdowns of reactor No. 1 took place after that period.