The entrance road to Kola nuclear power plant. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Troubled Kola reactor shut down again

Kola nuclear power plant Unit 3 automatically disconnected from the grid Tuesday evening.
July 19, 2016


“On July 19th at 18.58 Unit No. 3 at the Kola nuclear power plant disconnected from the network,” the information department reported a few minutes later.

Kola nuclear power plant assures that all safety requirements are within safe limits and the current radiation background remains unchanged. That goes for both the radiation levels inside the plant and in the surrounding areas.

Kola nuclear power plant is located by Lake Imandra, some 200 kilometres south of Murmansk. It is the world’s only electricity producing nuclear power plant located north of the Arctic Circle.

The three other reactors at the plant are operating as normal, while the reason for the shutdown of Unit 3 is under investigation.

Kola nuclear power plant. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Some five-six years ago, reactor No 3 had a series of incidents. It was automatically shut down in September 2010 after a malfunction in one of the elements in the system responsible for pressure control of the first compartment. That pressure compensation system is one of the most important systems that guarantees the safe operation of the reactor.

Then, in December 2011, the same reactor shut down following a switch off of a transformer.

Despite troubles, reactor No. 3 in 2011 received a 25-years engineering lifespan extension.


The reactor is of the second generation Soviet designed water-cooled reactors, first time put into operation at Kola NPP in 1981. 

The newest of the four reactors had its latest shutdown in February this year.


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