When work at Kola 1 and 2 is completed the operating licences will be granted a 15-year extension, observers expect. Upgrading work at Kola 1 and 2 is due for completion in mid-2003 and 2004, respectively.
Part of the reason for the extension is the Russian government's delay in deciding on the plant's future. The government has been considering building new reactors at Kola, but has made no plans for new units in the next 10 years. Kola 1 and 2 were started up in 1973 and 1975, respectively. Because of their age, most of their components and systems needed to be replaced or significantly modified. In addition to replacing components, redundancy is being improved.
Beyond the reactors, one of the most critical elements for life extension is a treatment facility for low- and medium-level waste. Without this, Kola would have no way to handle the additional waste from continued generation.
Some liquid radioactive waste at the Kola plant is to be processed under a new project funded by the EU's Tacis programme.
Russia's Rosenergoatom and Finland's TVO have discussed implementation of the new Tacis project, which would attract funding of from the European Commission of about E10 million.
TVO, as Western consultant, together with the St Petersburg-based Atomenergoproyekt, will provide support to Kola to draw up technical documents for a large-scale project to set up a complex to process liquid radioactive waste. In addition, TVO will help prepare and implement current Tacis projects at Kola. The work is expected to take 17 months.