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City, Country
Polyarnye Zori, Kola peninsula, Russia

Number & type of Reactors
2x VVER-440/230 2x VVER-440/213

Net Electric Power as % in 92 of national total
1644 MWe 1% of national prod.

Major population Centers in a 150 km radius and
total estimated population of 150 km r. region

Approximately 200,000, including Kandalksha, Apatity, Kirovsk, Monchogorsk. Plus the edge of North Finnland

Date of commercial operation start up
or (if unfinished) date of construction start.

Operating; Start Up 1973, 1974, 1981, 1984. Fifth and sixth (VVER-1000) under construction

Rosenergoatom - operator; Atomenergostroy - builder; VVER-1000 / safety contractor: Imatran Voima, Finland

Accidents and Dangers:

Kola experiences a near accident about once a year. In 1993, Kola experienced 43 events. Kola is the primary cause behind the more than three-fold increase in the number of events seen at Russian VVER-440 stations in recent years. In 1992, Vessels with 500 cubic meters of radioactive water bursted leaking into service rooms.

Local Contact Group:

PO Box 109, 183012 Murmansk
tel 7 81522 16290 work, 34319 home

Key Arguments/History

There is great potential for a serious accident at Kola due to human error, unfunded safety problems or worker sabotage. In 1994, workers staged a sit-in, protesting delays in pay. There have been phone threats to set Kola a fire if wages were not paid. A significant number of workers have left because wages no longer compensated for the harsh working conditions inside the Arctic Circle. Many Kola customers fail to pay their bills including the giant nickel smelter at Nikel. Consequently, management attention is being diverted away from the serious safety problems toward fund-raising. As a result of the failure to pass legislation granting nuclear regulating organizations (e.g.,GAN) legal authority, no substantive enforcement actions can be taken against operating nuclear plants in Russia. Studies have revealed about 100 deviations from the safety rules at the Kola NPP. Plus reconstruction of the plant's roof involving replacement of the inflammable insulation materials has not been done. Nor have the cable conduits been treated with fire-resistant substances. Kola-1 suffered a blackout in 93 after a storm knocked out off-site power and emergency diesel generators repeatedly failed to start.


The Murmansk region depends on Kola for 60 to 70% of its electricity. But large renewable energy resources, mainly wind power, are available in this coastal arctic region. Industrial enterprises should be restructured to provide both heat and power.