Bohunice V1 reactors fully dismantled

29 July 2022

The two VVER-440 V-230 reactors in Slovakia were decommissioned and disassembled on site, the first time this has happened for reactors of this type, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said.

The work has had to be very carefully planned (Image: Screenshot from EBRD video)

The Bohunice International Decommissioning Support Fund had contributions of more than EUR650 million (USD660 million) as of mid-2018 from the European Commission, Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. It is managed by the EBRD.

The EBRD says the work - which saw the reactors fully dismantled and the components decontaminated for safe storage or recycling - "was completed on schedule and within budget and will provide valuable experience and expertise for other decommissioning work around the world".

Preparation for decommissioning the two Bohunice V1 reactors started in 2012. The aim is for remaining equipment and systems at the site to be taken apart and processed by 2025, with power plant buildings then demolished with the site ready for redevelopment by 2027.

The two reactors date back to the 1970s and were the first of their kind to be built outside the Soviet Union. As part of Slovakia's terms of joining the European Union - in 2004 - it was agreed to shut down the reactors "as soon as possible". The EBRD says that this followed safety concerns raised by Western European Nuclear Regulatory Asssocation experts. The units were closed at the end of 2006 and 2008, respectively.

Decommissioning project manager for JAVYS, Tibor Rapant, said: "The key technical challenge was connected with the big components and most activated components - the reactor pressure vessels, the reactor internals and the steam generators, to remove them, to transport them, to do the fragmentation and the proper management of the materials."

As part of the process the steam generators were removed from the plant building to allow space for pools to be built in their place, for use in decontaminating equipment. The total mass of the plant is estimated at 800,000 tonnes with the goal for as much as possible of it to be decontaminated and prepared for recycling.

Bohunice-RPV-in-segmentation-tank-(Javys)_730.jpegThe reactor vessel was placed in a pool specially created for the segmentation task (Image: JAVYS)

Slovakia has four nuclear reactors generating half of its electricity and two more under construction.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News