25 Jan (NucNet): Russian regulator Rostechnadzor has approved the start of decommissioning work at Unit 1 of the Bilibino nuclear power station in the far northeastern region of Chukotka.
Rosenergoatom, the nuclear operating subsidiary of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, said it had received a 15-year licence to operate the unit without power generation.
According to regulatory procedures in Russia the licence is required before a decommissioning licence, which will be granted for Bilibino-1 at a later stage of the decommissioning process, Rosenergoatom said.
Bilibino-1 was disconnected from the grid in March 2018, during which its fuel was removed and placed in on-site used fuel ponds. The Bilibino station consists of four Generation I EGP-6 light-water graphite-moderated reactors, which are a scaled down version of the RBMK reactor design. They began commercial operation between 1974 and 1977.
Units 2, 3 and 4 at the station are scheduled to be shut down in December 2021. Unit 1 will be the first EGP-6 to be decommissioned.
Bilibino’s lost capacity will be replaced by the Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear power station, which is scheduled to be deployed later this year at Pevek, an Arctic port town in the country’s in Chukotka.
According to Rosatom, Bilibino generates 80% of electricity in the isolated region.