Russia to close Bilibino NPP

23 April 2016

Unit 1 of Russia's Bilibino NPP in the Arctic northeast will be finally shut down in December 2018 and the three remaining units will be closed in December 2021, the plant said on 22 April. The decision to close Bilibino's four ageing uranium-graphite pressure-tube EGP-6 reactors for decommissioning was approved in March.

Bilibino plant manager Konstantin Kholopov said the closed units would be replaced by commissioning Russia's first floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) at Pevek in the Chukotka Autonomous District. Construction of new and modernised electricity transmission lines will be completed at the energy hub in Bilibino within the next five years. Meanwhile, it will be necessary to produce documents to extend the service life extension of Bilibino 2 and 3 until the end on 2021.

The FNPP Akademik Lomonosov is being built at the Baltijskiy Zavod in St Petersburg. The ship's release to the customer, nuclear utility Rosenergoatom, is planned for September 2016 and commissioning in Pevek, is expected in 2019. The Akademik Lomonosov project, which began in 2006 has faced a series of difficulties. Construction began at Sevmash in Northwest Russia, but in 2009 was moved to St Petersburg in face of financial difficulties. It was then further delayed by bankruptcy proceedings against the Baltic Shipyard. Construction resumed when Russian United Shipbuilding Corporation bought the shipyard in May 2011. The FNPP is equipped with two KLT-40S reactors with a design capacity to 70MWe mounted on a floating barge, onshore facilities are being built for the transmission of electricity and heat to the external network, and waterworks.

As to the construction of interim facilities, which will operate after Bilibino closes, construction of a diesel generator station (DGS) for an independent power supply will be started this year and by December the diesel fuel warehouse for this DGS and the boiler house, which has been already built on the Bilibino site, will be put into operation, Kholopov said.

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