Voronezh nuclear district heating plant (Voronezh AST, VAST) is a nuclear heating plant consisting of two AST-500 (500MWth) nuclear heating reactors. VAST was intended for year-round operation in the central heating system of the city of Voronezh, Russia.
The construction of the site was carried out from 1983 to 1990. The construction works on the Voronezh site have been frozen since 1990.
In 2020-2021 the dismantling of buildings is underway.
In the late 1970s, all the necessary conditions for Nuclear Heating Plant (NHP) were met in two Sites in Russia: (Gorky / Nizhny Novgorod and Voronezh), where construction of the two pilot nuclear district heating plants (AST-500) started in the early 1980s.
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Nuclear heating reactor AST-500, developed by OKB Mechanical Engineering, has a number of unique engineering features, e.g. integral lay-out of primary system’s components, natural coolant circulation, steam-gas self-pressurizing system, additional safety vessel around the reactor unit, etc.
In ex-USSR, all Nuclear Heating Plants were invested from the State budget, and plenty of machine-building plants were involved by the governmental decrees in the production of equipment necessary for the nuclear power generating and heating only plants. Unfortunately, the established nuclear equipment production cooperation collapsed lately.
In 1990 decisions were adopted by regional administrations to cease the NHP construction in Gorky / Nizhny Novgorod and Voronezh. Until that time two sets of AST-500 RP components were delivered to the Gorky / Nizhny Novgorod Site and one set to Voronezh. By that time construction and erection works of the first unit of the Gorky / Nizhny Novgorod NHP was 83% complete (in cost term) and more than 70% on the Voronezh Site.
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In October 2019, Rosenergoatom published a tender for the demolition of the main building of the unfinished Voronezh nuclear district heating plant ¸ which was won by the Nizhny Novgorod company Volgaspetsstroy.
The demolition of two buildings will cost Rosatom 762.1 million rubles and will be completed by the end of 2021.
After the demolition, a strong foundation will remain, which the authorities of the Voronezh region plan to use in the future for new construction.
On May 29, 2020, the dismantling of the main VAST building has began.