Unit 2 of Russia’s Kola NPP was shut down on 12 November to undergo the final phase of a large-scale modernisation programme to extend its life to 2034. Kola NPP is a branch of nuclear utility Rosenergoatom (part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom). The station is located 200 km south of Murmansk on the shores of Lake Imandra in the Arctic circle and comprises four VVER-440 units which began operation in 1973, 1974, 1981 and 1984. Their 30-year design life has already been extended by 15 years, with additional 15 year extensions for units 1 and 2.
Unit 2 had been reconnected to the grid on 26 October after a lengthy scheduled preventive repair (PPR) outage of 280 days. During the PPR, the diagnostic and control systems were updated, modern digital equipment and new software and hardware systems were installed, the passive safety system was built and put into operation, which, together with other factors, makes it possible to increase the level of safety of the power unit by an order of magnitude. After that the unit underwent two weeks of testing. The next and final stage of the programme will be consideration of the technical reporting documentation on the tests performed by the Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Supervision (Rostekhnadzor) and registration of changes in the licence conditions for operation of unit 2 at capacity. During this period, the unit will be disconnected from the network, and the Kola NPP will depend on the other three units. Unit 1 completed its modernisation programme in 2018, after which Rostechnadzor, issued the licence extending its operation until 2033.