Government gives priority to new Kola NPP

Kola nulear power plant sign on the road towards the plant.

Two oldest reactors at Kola nuclear power plant will be replaced in 2025 and 2030 by two new, three times more powerful reactors.


Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has issued a decree listing investment priorities for Russia’s energy sector towards 2030. The document is the first that officially says that the two oldest reactors at Kola nuclear power plant could continue to operate until 2025 and 2030.

The reactors will then be 52 and 55 years old respectively. It is these two reactors, of the VVER-440/230 model, that Russia’s Nordic neighbors have hoped could be closed down for safety reasons. The two newest operating reactors at Kola nuclear power plant (Kola NPP) are of the VVER-440/213 model and have some extra safety barriers. 

The Decree from Dmitri Medvedev reads that the two new reactors, to be constructed at a brand new nuclear power plant to be named Kola NPP-2, will replace existing capacity. The reactors will, according to the document, be of the newest VVER-1200 model, each with a capacity of 1,150 MW. That is nearly three times the capacity of today’s operating reactors. 

The VVER-1200 reactor is Russia’s fourth generation water-cooled reactor, and evolution of the VVER-1000 reactor. Safety features include a containment building and a missile shield. The system for emergency cooling in case of power loss, like in Fukhushima, includes a full backup set of diesel generators kept on standby to maintain cooling flow to the reactor. A new emergency core cooling system also differ the VVER-1200 from older models.

The reactor model is still not in operation, but the two first are under construction at Leningrad NPP-2 and Novovoronezh NPP.

As BarentsObserver reported in September, the new Kola NPP-2 will be built some 10 kilometers to the south of the current plant on the shores of Lake Imandra. 

Kola NPP-2 is the only plant until 2030 to be built in the Russian part of the Barents Region. The Governmental Decree includes new reactors at eight other nuclear power plants in Russia; Kostroma, Kursk, Smolensk, Nizhny Novgorod, Tatar, Beloyarsk, South Ural and Seversk. The VVER-1200 will be Russia’s new mainstream reactor of which 18 will be built at the above mentioned nuclear power plant, except South Ural and Beloyarsk that will get BN-880 and BN-1200 fast breeder reactors.