Dismantling of Russia’s old Voronezh nuclear heating plant proves difficult

8 October 2020

The dome of the unfinished Voronezh nuclear heating plant (VAST), having withstood several demolition explosions, began to be dismantled using a gas cutting on 3 October. Three sections collapsed into the building, while three others remain in an unstable position, according to Andrei Timonov, Director of the Communications Department of nuclear utility Rosenergoatom.

The top of the plant was originally supposed to collapse into the building after a series of explosions. But the iron dome survived several attempts. The first explosion on 30 August destroyed the polar crane inside the facility. However, during the second attempt on 27 September, some of the charges failed to detonate. A third attempt on 30 September, also failed although it weakened the structure.

The plans to demolish the station were announced in 2019 and by the end of the year, a contractor had been selected. At the beginning of 2020, the residents of Voronezh and the local authorities asked Rosenergoatom to save VAST and to convert it into a centre with cinemas and galleries. But later this idea was abandoned, despite a petition from residents.

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