Christmas gift to planet Earth


Friday, December 21, 2018 at 23:30 finally stopped the world’s oldest reactor RBMK-1000 (Chernobyl series) at the Leningrad nuclear power plant (LNPP). It functioned 45 years and will be decommissioned for about the same number of years.

A new era of nuclear industry of Russia has begun,where about 75% of NPP reactors work longer than design limits. Their decommissioning will require tens of billions of euros. Mainly taxpayers of Russia will pay these costs.

Decommissioning of nuclear power plants is a multifactorial complex of problems:

  • technological– in the world there are no technologies for long-term isolation (for a hundred thousand years) or socially-environmentally acceptable technology for the processing of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, for example, about 7 thousand tons of radioactive graphite on the 4th reactors LNPP. The graphite (Carbon-14) with a half-life 5.700 years;
  • social– about a third of 6,000 employees of LNPP can expect to participate in the decommissioning program. The rest will look for another job;
  • economical – the cost of the decommissioning of 4 power units the operator of the Leningrad NPP estimated by operator at 725 million euros. For comparison, the cost of decommissioning only 2 similar units of Ignalina NPP (Lithuania) after 10 years of the decommissioning is estimated in 4 times more;
  • environmental– as a result of the synergetic effects of radiation and chemical pollution in the area of the nuclear cluster on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, it seems that the limit of the ecological capacity of the habitat has been reached.The percentage of cytogenetic damage in seeds and pine needles in the area of the nuclear cluster is 3 times, and in the city of Sosnovy Bor (67,000 residents, 4 km from nuclear facilities) is 2 times higher than on the border with St. Petersburg. (40 km from the nuclear cluster).
  • moral – the transport of spent nuclear fuel from the SOSnovy Bor (South Coast of the Gulf of Finland, Baltic Sea) to the coast of Yenisei river to the temporary storage of spent nuclear fuel to the close nuclear city Zheleznogorsk (Krasnoyarsk territory) is perceived by the residents of the Krasnoyarsk territory as a demonstration of the colonial policy of European Russia towards Siberia. About 130,000 signatures have been collected against such a strategy

In order to ensure an environmentally and socially acceptable scenario for decommissioning nuclear power plants, it is necessary to have effective interaction between three social partners: the authorities, the NPP operator and the public concerned.

Russian NGO “Public Council of the Southern Coast of the Gulf of Finland”in cooperation with Association of veterans of Ignalina NPP (Lithuania)made an examination of the «Concept of Decommissioning of Leningrad NPP Units with RBMK-1000», developed by the operator of this power plant (Concern Rosenergoatom).

The group of experts included experienced experts from Russia and Lithuania, independent from Russian nuclear industry.

Experts noted that the “Concept…” describes mainly some technical details of the decommissioning process. In the same time there are no description of the final solution for the spent nuclear fueland radioactive graphite – biologically significant C14.

There is practically no description of solutions to ensure social stability (and social adaptation) in case of loss of jobs, as well as a model of integrated monitoring of the environmental situation and health condition of people living near the Leningrad NPP.

There is no the regional and municipal legislations, which is provide the effective mechanisms of interaction between the authorities, the operator of the nuclear power plant and the public concerned.

There is no enough money, accumulated for the decommission process of Leningrad NPP.

The experts’ recommendations will soon be handed over to the operator of LNPP (Rosenergoatom), the nuclear safety regulator (Rostekhnadzor), the Russian authorities, the local authorities of Sosnovy Bor, as well as the interested public.

Some of the recommendations of the Russian-Lithuanian expert group:

For the Legislative Assembly of the Leningrad region:

  • Develop and adopt a law on radiation safety of the Leningrad region with a deeper involvement of the legislative power in the decision-making process, a description of public participation procedures, as well as the need to coordinate with local authorities EIA projects of potentially hazardous facilities on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland (and decommissioning of nuclear power plants);
  • To act with the legislative initiative to develop a Federal law on social guarantees to employees of decommissioned nuclear power plants taking into account the recommendations of the «Concept of decommissioning of nuclear installations…Rosatom» on creation of a complex of measures of social protection of personnel of nuclear power plants output, as well as taking into account the experience of Lithuania adopted a law on social guarantees for employees of the Ignalina NPP, decommissionedor the German experience in social adaptation of Nord NPP workers who will not participate in the decommissioning process of the plant.
  • To consider the establishment (together with the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg and local authorities of Sosnovy Bor) of an interregional laboratory for integrated socio-environmental monitoring of the Southern Coast of the Gulf of Finland, including the control of the safe decommissioning of power units of the Leningrad NPP and other nuclear cluster facilities. For the financial support of the laboratory, it is necessary to create a special Fund for the allocation of funds by nuclear enterprises.

For the Board of deputies and the administration of Sosnovy Bor urban district:

  • Develop and adopt a Regulation on the «Public Council» for social and environmental monitoring of the decommissioning of the LNPP, with the inclusion of representatives of all interested parties. Such «Advice» was created in the city of Visaginas (Lithuania) and Greifswald (Germany) in the derivation of the Ignalina NPP and NPP Nord.
  • Achieve construction(in the shortest possible time!) Of a reserve underground source of drinking water supply for the city of Sosnovy Bor (67 thousand inhabitants).The situation when the drinking water of Sosnovy Bor comes from the Sista River (5 km from the Leningrad NPP) is a violation of Article 34 of the Water Codec of the Russian Federation.


For the operator of the Leningrad NPP (Rosenergoatom):

  • To create a Pilot Demonstration Center for decommissioning of power units with RBMK — type reactors and solving the whole complex of technological, social and environmental problems on the basis of the LNPP and the city of Sosnovy Bor:
  • development, testing, improvement and implementation of new technologies for decommissioning of power units with reactors of this type;
  • accumulation of advanced Russian and international experience of NPP power unit decommissioning technologies;
  • organization of an industry training center for the training of NPP personnel and dissemination of experience gained during the decommissioning of NPP units to other sites (Smolensk, Kursk NPP) and contractors;
  • accumulation of experience in the development and improvement of mechanisms of interaction with regional authorities, local authorities, the public in the decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
  • In the preparation of the updated version of the «Concept of Decommissioning of Leningrad NPP Units with RBMK-1000» to complement it:
  • assessment of safety and socio-environmental acceptability of decommissioning of the LNPP under the «on-site disposal» scheme provided for by regulatory documents and implemented in Russia;
  • the conditions under which should be the revision (clarification) of the “Concept of Decommissioning of the LNPP” unit to ensure the maintenance of the concept of the actual state, as required by the Concern’s “Concept of Rosenergoatom”;
  • estimates of the total amount (volume and activity), type, category and classes of radioactive waste generated during the decommissioning of the unit and planned for transfer to the National Operator for Radioactive Waste Management for disposal at radioactive waste repositories (requirement of article 12 of the Federal law «on radioactive waste management and on amendments to certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation» and relevant by-laws, including the «Rosenergoatom concept»);
  • description of the types of radiation monitoring and controlled radionuclides in the sanitary protection zone and urban Sosnovy Bor.

The expert opinion will contain a number of technical recommendations describing the Russian and Lithuanian experience of decommissioning nuclear hazardous facilities.

Russian members of the expert group