The four cooling towers at Slovakia’s closed Bohunice V1 NPP were finally demolished down on 1 October as decommissioning continues.

“Because ferro-concrete material from the cooling towers is neither radioactive nor represents a risk for the environment, it was processed on the spot,” said Miriam Žiaková, spokesperson of the Nuclear and Decommissioning Company (JAVYS), which is responsible for the work. “Crushed concrete remains on the premises of V1 and is used for filling holes that remained after the demolished cooling towers.” Metal waste is recycled. After the whole process is over, the place where the cooling towers once stood will be covered with grass. Each of the cooling towers was 120m high and 84.4m wide at its base.  

Although extensive upgrades were undertaken in 2000, Slovakia agreed to close the two V1 reactors in 1999, as a condition for its accession to the European Union (EU). They were disconnected from the grid in 2006 and 2008 after which decommissioning began.  Construction of the Bohunice V1 plant started in 1972, with two VVER-440 V-230 reactors supplied by Russia’s Atomenergoexport and Skoda. They were connected to the grid in 1978 and 1980.

In 1976, construction started on two V-213 reactors (the V2 plant) designed by Atomenergoproekt and built by Skoda. The V2 units began operation in 1984 and 1985. The underwent upgrades from 2005 to 2008  to improve seismic resistance, the cooling systems, and instrumentation and control (I&C) systems with a view to extending operational life to 40 years (2025). They were also uprated from 440MWe to 505MWe gross (472 MWe net) by November 2010, and there are plans to extend their operating licences  to 2045.

In 1982, construction on the first two units of the four-unit Mochovce NPP began by Skoda, using VVER-440 V-213 reactor units and they were started up in 1998 and 1999.  Uprates of 7% were implemented by June 2008. Work on units 3 and 4 began in 1986 but stopped in 1992 until mid-2009. The units are now nearing completion following further delays.