Chernobyl unit 3 restarts

30 June 1998

Unit 3 at Chernobyl nuclear power plant was reconnected to the grid on 14 May after a long-term shut-down for extensive repairs. The unit was restarted after the go-ahead was given by the main state nuclear inspectorate. The unit was shut down last July for routine maintenance and was due back on line after an outage lasting about three months. However, the restart was repeatedly postponed after the discovery of flaws in cooling system pipe welds.

The head of Ukraine’s nuclear regulatory administration, Aleksandr Smyshlayev, defended the decision to go ahead with the restart despite a call from the Swedish Nuclear Power Safety Inspectorate for the reactor to remain closed. He said regulators had kept strict control of the situation and plant personnel had done a high quality job of checking and repairing the pipe welds. The station’s chief engineer, Boris Goncharov, said during nine months of repairs engineers had fixed 338 cracks in the seams of cooling pipes below the reactor and replaced 59 fuel channels. France’s IPSN, on 14 May, repeated its view that Chernobyl should be closed as soon as possible.

Aleksandr Voyevoda, the deputy director of the national power distribution centre, said on 28 May that unit 3 reactor was operating normally, with its output at 1000-1010 MWe, slightly in excess of its nominal capacity.

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