The Crimean Nuclear Power Station is an abandoned and unfinished nuclear power plant near the cape of Kazantyp on the banks of Aqtas Lake in Crimea (Ukraine/Russia). IN THE 1960S AND 1970S, nuclear power seemed like the next great frontier in electricity generation, and after seven years of planning, construction on a major nuclear reactor in Crimea, intended to supply power across the peninsula, began in 1975. It was a big enough project that a new town, Shcholkine, sprung up to house the workers. The Soviet Union was in the middle of a push to increase nuclear power generation, particularly in more western areas, far from other fuel resources.
The plant’s design was based on Russia’s Balakovo NPP but construction was abandoned following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Since then the site has been used for parties, festivals and other public events. In 2020 discussions were underway with investors about the possibility of developing the site as an amusement park.
The History of the Crimean Atomic Energy Station
The first design surveys were carried out in 1968. Construction began in 1975. The station was supposed to provide electricity to the entire Crimean peninsula, as well as create a reserve for the subsequent development of the region’s industry – metallurgy, machine-building, chemical. The design capacity of the Crimean NPP is 2 GW (2 power units of 1 GW each) with the possibility of a subsequent increase in capacity up to 4 GW – the standard design provides for the placement of 4 power units with VVER-1000/320 reactors on the plant site.
In November 1980, the construction of the nuclear power plant was announced as the Republican shock Komsomol construction site, and on January 26, 1984 – the All-Union shock construction site (Komsomol shock construction projects was a Soviet propaganda term used for certain construction projects by Komsomol shock brigades in the Soviet Union). After the construction of the satellite town of Shchelkino, the embankment of the reservoir, and auxiliary facilities, the construction of the nuclear power plant itself began in 1982. A temporary line was laid from the Kerch branch of the railway, and at the height of construction, two echelons of building materials a day arrived along with it. In general, the construction proceeded without significant deviations from the schedule with the planned start-up of the 1st power unit in 1989.
A unique polar crane has already been delivered to the reactor building of the first power unit and installed at the design site.
With the help of this crane, further lifting, transport and construction and installation operations were to be carried out inside the reactor compartment:
- during the construction of a nuclear power plant: operations for moving and storing equipment (parts of the reactor, steam generator casings, pressure compensator, main circulation pipelines, and pumps, etc.), and then installing them at design sites;
- after the start-up of the station: carry out transport-technological and repair work for the maintenance of the nuclear reactor.
The unfavorable economic situation in the USSR and the catastrophic accident at the fourth power unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on April 26, 1986 led to the fact that by 1987 the construction was first suspended, and in 1989 the final decision was made to refuse to start the station.
By this time, 500 million Soviet rubles in 1984 prices had been spent on the construction of the nuclear power plant. In the warehouses, there was approximately another 250 million rubles worth of materials. The station began to be slowly pulled apart into ferrous and non-ferrous scrap metal.
Events after the stoppage of construction work at the Crimean Atomic Energy Station
From 1995 to 1999, discos of the “Republic of KaZantip” festival were held in the engine room (turbine room) of the Crimean Atomic Energy Station. The advertisement read: “Atomic Party in a Reactor.”
In 1998-2000, the subsidiary Vostochno-Krymskaya energeticheskaya kompaniya, created on the basis of the nuclear power plant, sold the plant’s property in the amount of UAH 2.204 million. By February 1, 2003, only a special building, a block of workshops, a reactor department and an oil-diesel facility remained on the balance sheet of the East Crimean Energy Company.
In September 2003, the Property Fund sold the unique Danish Kroll K-10000 crane, installed for the installation of a nuclear reactor. Before its dismantling, the high-rise crane was used for base jumping. Jumping was carried out from the lower (80 m) and upper (120 m) booms of the crane. Currently, the same “Kroll” crane is involved in the construction of the 4th power unit of the Khmelnytskyi NPP in the city of Netishin — earlier cranes of this type were erected buildings of the Zaporozhye and South-Ukrainian NPPs (located on the territory of the station in a disassembled state).
In 2004 it was passed to the government of Crimea. In 2005 the Crimean representation of the State Property Fund sold the station to an undisclosed firm.
Interesting facts about
the Crimean Atomic Energy Station
- In 1986, an experimental (the first in the USSR) solar power plant SES-5 was built nearby. Near it, on the eastern shore of the Aktash reservoir, there is also an experimental wind farm Yuzhenergo and eight old non-working experimental wind turbines installed back in Soviet times. Not far from it is the East Crimean wind farm, consisting of 15 wind turbines with a capacity of 100 kW and two with a capacity of 600 kW each
- The nuclear power plant has an almost complete “twin” – the abandoned unfinished nuclear power plant Stendal 100 km west of Berlin in Germany, built according to the same Soviet project from 1982 to 1990. By the time the construction was stopped, the readiness of the first power unit of the Stendal NPP was 85%. Its only significant difference from the Crimean NPP is the use of cooling towers for cooling, and not a reservoir. By 2010, the Stendal nuclear power plant was almost completely dismantled. A pulp and paper mill was opened on the territory of the former nuclear power plant, the cooling towers were dismantled in 1994 and 1999. With the help of excavators and heavy construction equipment, the dismantling of the reactor shops is completed.
- The NPP starred in many films, of which the most famous was F. Bondarchuk’s Inhabited Island, which was filmed there in 2007.
Photos of the Abandoned and Unfinished
Crimean Atomic Energy Station
Current Status of the Crimean Atomic Energy Station
By the end of 2021, the authorities plan to demolish two diesel generator stations, the turbine hall, machine block foundation, pumping station, and the nuclear power plant’s reactor compartment, the government said Feb. 5.
The government of Crimea has decided to fully demolish the Crimean Atomic Energy station near Shcholkine, construction of which was halted after the Chernobyl accident in 1986, the government said in a statement on its website.
How To Reach the Crimean Atomic Energy Station
With Public Transportation
How to get there: The Abandoned Crimean Nuclear Power Plant is located 7 kilometers from Shchelkino . You can get there on foot, by hitchhiking, or by bus to the turn to the nuclear power plant, and then on foot for 1 kilometer.