Norway wants Kola NPP reactors closed

The control room for the oldest reactor at Kola NPP. This photo is from 1993.

Norwegian Foreign Ministry says the two oldest reactors at the Kola nuclear Power Plant should be closed for safety reasons. But the message does not get through. Director at Kola NPP, Aleksandr Ionov, says he never heard anything negative from Norwegian authorities.


Interviewed by the Norwegian Weekly Teknisk Ukeblad, Kola NPP Director Aleksandr Ionov, says he last year participated at a meeting with representatives from the Norwegian government where he presented Kola NPP’s work related to safety. – No counter arguments were given and I do not believe they were too shy to say their opinions. I have never heard anything negative from Norwegian authorities, says Ionov.

Teknisk Ukeblad also interviewed Anne-Kirsti Karlsen, Deputy Director in the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Security Policy and the High North: – From the Norwegian side we do have a good dialog with Russian authorities about the nuclear safety situation on Kola, including the future of Kola NPP. It has been a main goal for us to see the closure of the two oldest reactors at Kola NPP, says Karlsen.  

The two oldest reactors at the Kola NPP are of the VVER/440-230 type, the oldest Soviet model pressure-water cooled reactors for power plants. Both Norway and the European Union say the reactors should be closed down because it is not possible to modify them to acceptable safety standards. The reactors were started at Kola NPP in 1973 and 1974 and had an estimated design life of 30 years. But the life time is prolonged with 15 years, counting from 2003 and 2004.

Kola NPP writes at their own website that they have successfully cooperated with the Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) for 17 years. The parties have implemented over 50 projects to date. Most of these projects are not connected to the two oldest reactors.

Kola NPP says the cooperation projects sponsored by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and implemented by IFE include a system of control of the diesel generators of the 3rd and 4th reactors. TV control of the containment of the 3rd reactor, system for surveillance of the reactor core of the 4th reactor (SCORPIO), portable aerosol gas and iodine monitor, equipment for vibration and nondestructive control and water chemistry monitoring.

Norway has contributed with safety projects at Kola NPP worth USD 13,5 million, writes Teknisk Ukeblad

Earlier this week ecologists from the organization “Priroda i Molodez” (Nature and Youth) arranged a demonstration in the city centre of Murmansk where they informed the inhabitants that the valid licence for reactor No. 2 at Kola NPP expires on June 30th. Dressed like mutants the ecologists presented information against the prolongation of the oldest reactors. 

According to an opinion poll, 85 percent of the population in Murmansk County are negative to a prolongation of the life-time for the oldest reactors at Kola nuclear power plant.