Incident at Kola Nuclear Power Plant

The control room at Kola Nuclear Power Plant. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

A five meter high oil voltage transformer exploded at the Kola Nuclear Power Plant during a hurricane on January 15, leaving northern parts of the Kola Peninsula without power.


The plant’s management calls the episode “an incident” and it was therefore not reported to the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

Splinters from the exploded transformer were thrown up to 80 meters away and destroyed other equipment, TV Murman reports. Two power lines to the northern parts of Kola Peninsula were automatically switched off, leaving the Kola and Pechenga areas without electricity.

In August 2009, two generators at the plant were shut down due to a fault in the anti-fire system, as BarentsObserver reported.

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According to the regional Minister of Energy in Murmansk Oblast Gennady Mikichura, the region’s power system in general is in good order. The transformer that exploded two weeks ago was built in 2007, he said.

Russia has nine nuclear power plants in operation. The only one of them located within the Barents Region is Kola Nuclear Power Plant near the city of Polyarny Zori north of the Arctic Circle. Kola nuclear power plant operates four water cooled reactors.

The oldest reactor at Kola Nuclear Power Plant is 37 years old and is licensed to operate until 2018.

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