Trout is farmed in the warm cooling water coming out to Lake Imandra from Kola nuclear power plant. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Substantial expansion of trout farming in cooling water of Kola nuclear power plant

Russia aims to reduce dependence on Norwegian fry imports. The expanded facilities next to Kola nuclear power plant in Lake Imandra will by late 2026 release four million rainbow trout fry every year.
March 04, 2024


No fear of radiation, although the new egg- and fry plant, the fish farming nets and production facilities are inside the sanitary protection zone of the Kola NPP. 

Warm water coming from cooling the four reactors at Kola NPP keeps the several square kilometers of Lake Imandra ice-free year-round, even in freezing mid-winter here above Russia’s Arctic Circle.

For years, a small fish farm has existed for trout and even a few sturgeon so the employees of the nuclear power plants can have their private black caviar.

Now, the Kola NPP teams up with Russkiy Losos (Russian Salmon), the fish farmer company that produces close to 20,000 tons of salmon and trout in Liinakhamari in the Pechenga fjord on the Barents Sea coast.

The Russians have until now been completely dependent on smolt supply from Norway for fish farming on the Kola Peninsula.

Investments for expanded production amount to 1-2 billion rubles (€10 to 20 million), Rosatomenergo, the state-owned corporation operating Kola NPP says in a press release.

“Fish farming has always been of great importance for the Kola Peninsula. We are pleased to become partners in a new and promising project for this industry,” said Kola NPP director Vaily Omelchuk.


“I’m especially pleased that we will be raising Russian fish because the smolt and caviar were produced here in Russia,” he added.

The press release continues by praising Russia’s policy of “creating technological sovereignty and increasing import substitution.”

“The qualification of our specialists allows the country to quickly develop new vacated areas, where it is possible to develop our own to replace foreign technologies.”


The fish farm takes advantage of warm cooling water from the reactors that keep this part of Lake Imandra ice-free year-round. The water comes to the Lake via a nearly 2 km-long channel from the power plant. Photo: Kola NPP


On the shores of Lake Imandra, the new facilities will cover an area of 2,5 to 3 thousand square meters.


This Sentinel satellite image from February 18 this winter show the part of Lake Imandra kept ice-free due to warm cooling water from the Kola nuclear power plant. The cage nets can be seen where the water channel enters the lake.


In 2014, Russia sanctioned the import of Norwegian salmon, but not smolt and fish farming technologies.

The boost of own production along the Barents Sea coast, however, was hampered as diseases broke out in over-filled cage nets. Thousands of tons of dead fish, bankruptcies and billions of rubles in lost investments put the industry on its knees in the year 2015.


Nuclear Safety

The Barents Observer Newsletter

After confirming you're a real person, you can write your email below and we include you to the subscription list.

Privacy policy