“Cold Tests” are completed
“Cold Tests” are completed

The recent events at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant are rapidly developing. Politicians, activists, public figures, journalists and bloggers continue to actively discuss the issues around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant annually, and especially on the eve of the next anniversary of the tragedy. Frequent international and domestic commissions monitoring compliance with special standards at the final stage of the construction of Shelter-2 have already become the norm.

Some do not miss the opportunity of public relations at this event, especially during the period of the next election campaigns, while others simply fulfill their human and professional duty. What is behind these big words? In addition to Ukrainian Chernobyl and Pripyat, which is gaining unprecedented popularity, how will tourist events of recent years be remembered for the Chernobyl NPP to pass 2019 to its final stage?

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant received the Certificate of the State Architectural and Construction Inspection of Ukraine, which is evidence that the construction of the facility called “New Safe Confinement” (NSC) has been completed.

The nuclear power plant received the Licensed Package-6 (LP-6). The grandiose protective structure with special life support arteries and all the necessary infrastructure fully meets the design documentation, which confirms its readiness for operation.

All work on the NSC project was divided into six licensed packages (LP). Work on five of them was completed in a timely manner. They were aimed at cleaning the future site for the organization of the subsequent construction of the NSC – equipping the foundation, a mounting platform for the assembly of the Arch, installation of metal structures, sheathing of the main equipment of the Arch, in particular the system of main cranes.

The LP-6 is one of the main packages for the construction of a new safe confinement, which provides for the integration of the entire NSC project into an integrated complex along with complex internal systems.

The certificate confirmed that all the work provided for in the project documentation was carried out taking into account state building norms, standards and rules. The equipment was installed in accordance with acts confirming its testing in the appropriate manner.

The Certificate LP-6 opened the way to the final stage of putting the NSC into operation – obtaining from the State Architectural and Construction Control authority a Certificate of the Integrated Property Complex of the Launch Complex-1 Facility for a New Safe Confinement.

The work of the mechanical repair shop

In August 2019, in accordance with the approved schedules and applications of the units for carrying out the elimination of defects, the mechanical repair workshop performed maintenance and renovation of equipment, which is extremely important for the complete and safe decommissioning of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

The personnel of the unit performed maintenance of 177 lifting machines (LM) and the CNPP chipboard elevators. A total of 21 LM units underwent a periodic inspection. 54 units of LM and crane rails were repaired during the month, as well as 4 overhauls of the electric parts of the LM were made.

Equal attention was paid to the elevator facilities – maintenance was carried out at 80 elevator facilities. 36 LM and 10 elevators have been prepared for a partial technical inspection, 34 are ready for expert examination.

Maintenance was also organized for transport-technological and special equipment aimed at organizing work with spent nuclear fuel of blocks 1,2,3 and SNFS-1 (Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage).

Maintenance and repair of special equipment of the plant for the processing of rare radiation waste and the industrial complex for the management of solid radiation waste was carried out also in August 2019.

The unit’s personnel also carried out system maintenance of the entire complex of heat and water supply facilities, taking into account the use of welding, metal processing, installation of equipment and piping. The current, hardly noticeable to the rookie, work continued, without which there simply was nothing at the Chernobyl NPP.


According to the construction project of the SNFS-2 spent nuclear fuel storage facility, another important stage – “cold tests” – has already been completed. They lasted for almost four months, including through August 29 of this year.

Cold tests are an important part of the SNFS-2 pre-launch tests, which consist of three main stages.

At the first stage, the workability of the equipment and all the main technological systems was tested for their behavior with simulators of spent fuel builds.

At the second stage, all auxiliary systems that ensure the operation of the main ones passed the test.

The third stage of the “cold tests” was aimed at determining the repair ability of all the SNFS-2 equipment. The question was – can its parts, with a possible failure during operation of the facility, be repaired remotely, without the direct involvement of plant personnel?

All three stages of the tests were supervised by a commission composed of representatives of the contractor, Holtec International, the customer of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the State Inspectorate for Nuclear Response. The commission made some comments during the tests, some of which have already been eliminated – this concerned the development of some software, and some are in the process of elimination.

The “hot tests” stage will begin, with the actual spent fuel assemblies already directly implemented, upon completion of the work to eliminate all the malfunctions identified as a result of the “cold tests”, after the approval of the initial report of the safety analysis, upon receipt of the corresponding certificate. The start of this phase is scheduled for December 2019.

This is how things are at the Chernobyl NPP as of the current moment.

Today there is a unique opportunity to objectively evaluate work aimed at combating the consequences of the accident not only in 2019, but also to look at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the second half of 1986. Of course, now there are perhaps less pathos and slogans, but more specificity and technical achievements.

However, human labor, understanding the colossal responsibility that then, that now, are priceless. In order to realize this, you just need to look through the “Tribune of energetic”. We have the opportunity to compare these two periods of the life of the Chernobyl NPP ….

From the materials “Tribune of energetic” for 1986 …

  • To conclude

The sixteenth day of every current month for all employees of the Chernobyl Construction Directorate is a special number. One shift changes another on this seemingly unremarkable day. There are business noise, hand-to-hand handover of documents, discussion of sensitive issues.

On such a day, it’s difficult to find a person at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, with whom you can calmly talk about what is most worrying for those who, with their daily work, are trying to return the nuclear power plant to normal life, to revive the state of affairs after the accident, and to minimize the aggravating effect of nuclear fuel wastes on the environment. Nevertheless, this task turned out to be difficult, but feasible for correspondents of the “Tribune of energetic”. Meeting with V.I. Stolokos, G.N., Androsovich, G.N. Pavlov, S.N. Brazhevsky allowed to create the following material.

… The year 1986 became a difficult challenge. The accident at the fourth Chernobyl nuclear power unit, which was created in connection with this difficult radiation situation, required for our people a certain mental restructuring, changes in some previously established technological processes, and the timing of their execution. The situation required it. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of energy builders took this challenge very seriously, with courage and responsibility.

They calmly and professionally did their hard, sometimes dangerous work in critical areas of emergency response. Thanks to patriotic work, the sarcophagus aimed at sheltering the fourth emergency power unit was put into operation on time, which practically minimized the risks of nuclear fuel waste entering the atmosphere and ensured the safe operation of the surviving Chernobyl units. Under the most difficult conditions, energy managers from Pripyat completed the construction of the separation wall in the engine room, which separated the third and fourth power units from each other.

At the end of August 1986, builders began the final stage of work on the construction of a spent nuclear fuel storage facility, and the SNFS was put into operation 15 days ahead of schedule by the decision of the government commission. And this is taking into account the fact that the unique protective wall built by our specialists in the shortest time has no analogues in the world of construction practice.

In parallel with this, a large decontamination work was carried out in the city of Pripyat. Plumbers of site № 3 under the leadership of K. V. Nizhnik “cut the power off”, if I may say so, all city sewage, thereby preventing, to a large extent, radiation pollution of the water area of the Pripyat River basin. The work of the installers, who brought pipelines for supplying liquid nitrogen to the fourth power unit in extreme conditions, was almost heroic.

Of course, these works could have been done much earlier, but there were serious difficulties with the installation of equipment, which for the most part was non-standard. This circumstance slowed down the work on the military special processing station. The plans for the future include the continuation of scheduled preventive work at the third power unit, necessary for its further commissioning.

In addition, a proportion of staff of the Construction Department must take part in the construction work of the new city for power engineers – Slavutich. It is both honorable and responsible.

… There are two such different production periods from the life of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, two different moments in the life of a nuclear power plant – fall 1986 and fall 2019. There is commissioning of the facility “Shelter -1” and “Shelter -2”. Of course, each reader has something to compare and think about …