Russia postpones dismantling of unfinished Crimean NPP

27 January 2023

Crimea’s Ministry of Construction & Architecture has postponed dismantling of an unfinished NPP in the city of Shchelkino until the end of 2023. It was previously scheduled to be dismantled in 2022.

"Dismantling of the turbine hall with a deaerator stack and rooms for electrical devices has not been carried out, because court proceedings are underway in relation to this involving cancellation of state registration,” the Ministry explained. However, it stressed that total demolition of the plant was possible.

The government plan published in 2021 envisaged the demolition of six facilities in an area of 22,140 square metres. These included a single-cell diesel generator station, a three-cell diesel generator station, a reactor room, a turbine hall with a deaerator stack and rooms for electrical devices, as well as the foundation of the turbine hall of unit 2, half-built, and a pumping room station which was 30% complete. The reactors had not been installed.

According to the Ministry, the three-cell diesel generator station and a block pump station have been almost completely dismantled. Demolition of the reactor building is currently underway. In the summer, it is planned to dismantle the foundation of the machine room at unit 2, currently not possible because of water in the underground part of the facility.

The Crimean NPP, which was being built in the1970s-1980s, is now abandoned. The station was designed to be similar to the Balakovo, Khmelnitsky and Rostov NPPs, with VVER-1000 reactors. The city of Shchelkino was built on the shores of the Sea of Azov, to house the plant operators. Although unit 1 was 80% complete and unit 2 18%, construction was suspended after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and cancelled the following year.

In the 1990s, a vodka factory operated in one of the unfinished buildings of the plant. Attempts to create an industrial park on this site were unsuccessful. Later, the ruins of the station were used as a film set. The site has also been used for parties, festivals and other public events. In 2020 discussions were underway with investors about the possibility of developing the site as an amusement park. However, access to the reactor building is currently prohibited because the buildings are unsafe and there is a threat of collapse. The site is now fenced and guarded. Building materials resulting from the demolition are taken to the Integrated Supply Centre for further processing. Future use of the site has not been decided.

Image: The buildings of the abandoned Crimean NPP (courtesy of Crimean Ministry of Construction & Architecture)

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