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Environmental Sustainability Division

Projects & Programs

Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant Permanent Shutdown and Deactivation Project


The objective of this project was to support the permanent shutdown and deactivation of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). A major activity was to develop the permanent shutdown and deactivation plans for Units 1 and 2 that defined activities, schedules and resource requirements to achieve permanent safe shutdown status and obtain approval of this plan by all required Ukraine Government ministries necessary for plan implementation. Other significant activities included development and approval of a quality assurance program for decommissioning and conducting a comprehensive engineering assessment and radiation survey of Unit 1 systems, structures and components to obtain the information needed to develop the detailed decommissioning plan for this unit.


PNNL contracted with Ukraine engineers and experts having intimate knowledge of Chornobyl NPP systems and facilities and having well-established relationships with key Ukraine Government agencies and officials. Ukrainians, through subcontracts to PNNL, performed most of the work required to develop the permanent shutdown and deactivation plans, technical specifications and comprehensive engineering assessment and radiation survey. PNNL staff scoped and managed the project and provided technology and expertise as required to fulfill the project objectives.


The Chornobyl NPP Unit 1 Shutdown Program was completed in June 1998 and approved by the four required Ukraine Government ministries by November 1998. A similar plan for Unit 2 was approved in 2001. The Chornobyl NPP Decommissioning Quality Assurance Program was approved by Chornobyl NPP management in January 1999. The comprehensive engineering assessment and radiation survey of Unit 1 was completed in January 2000 with submission of the report Results of the Comprehensive Engineering and Radiation Survey of Unit 1. With final Ukraine Government approval of the Unit 1 Shutdown Program, defueling of the reactor began and activities were initiated to permanently shutdown active systems no longer needed. These documents resulted in issuance of a deactivation and decommissioning license by the Ukraine Nuclear Regulatory Agency for the Chornobyl NPP in March 2002. All three operational units of the Chornobyl NPP are now permanently shutdown and actively undergoing decommissioning.

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