Nuclear Power Plant in Chernobyl
Chernobyl nuclear power plant used to be one of the most powerful plants in the Soviet Union. The idea was to place it on the top of the list. According to confirmed sources, there was a plan to have 12 reactors in general. Nuclear power plant was supposed to provide electricity to the Central Energy District: 27 regions of the Ukrainian SSR and Rostov region with a population of 53 million people.
Construction of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant
Construction on the unit 1 began in 1970, and 7 years later it started producing energy. Unit 2 was built in 1973-1978, unit 3 in 1976-1981 and the last one, unit 4, was built in 1979-1983. These four reactors were built next to each other and shared the same machinery hall. To cool down units 1-4, huge cooling pond was built. For the next generation of the reactors (unfinished units 5 and 6) cooling towers were used. Project generating capacity of Chernobyl nuclear power plant was 6,000 MW. In April, 1986, there were four units with PBMK-1000 reactors with a total capacity of 4000 MW.
Chernobyl NPP Shutdown
The accident of 1986 destroyed many plans. Unit 5 was about to be launched, however, start was postponed till “better times”. Unit 6 was never finished. Fourth reactor was never brought back in service, while the other three continued producing energy. Unit 2 was stopped in 1991 because of the fire in the machinery hall. Unit 1 was shut down due to Ukrainian government decree in 1996. Finally, third unit produced energy till the end of 2000.
The site of the Chernobyl NPP consists of two main functional complexes: an industrial site of an NPP with open switchgear and a cooling reservoir and a construction base. The location and layout of industrial buildings and structures correspond to the basic sanitary and hygienic principle of NPP design: the division of the entire territory, buildings and premises of the station into zones: strict (controlled) and free regimes (only for the workers of the power plant and the zone; the visitors must comply with strict rules). The strict regime zone includes the territory, buildings and premises of the station in which the personnel may be exposed to radiation factors. Workers are allowed in the strict regime zone only through a sanitary pass.
For the visitors, the power plant is available since 2011. It is possible to walk the Golden Corridor, to see the control room of the unit 3 and many other parts of the power plant. Since 2019, central hall of the reactor and control panel of the unit 4 can be visited as well.