NPP decommissioning is a complex and long process during which a number of interrelated administrative and technical measures are implemented to complete life cycle of all nuclear facilities and other infrastructure facilities at the site.

Decommissioning should be obligatory implemented in compliance with all standards and rules on nuclear and radiation safety. This will prevent the negative impact on personnel, the public and the environment.

The main document based on which preparatory activities for NPP decommissioning are performed is “Decommissioning Concept for Operating NPPs in Ukraine” approved by Order of the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine No. 798 of 10 December 2015.

According to the international experience and IAEA recommendations, three decommissioning strategies for separate nuclear power unit are possible:

  • urgent dismantling;
  • deferred dismantling;
  • entombment concept.

The Concept compares the options of power unit decommissioning based on expert assessments using the multi-factor analysis methodology. When choosing the optimal option for Ukraine, urgent dismantling and deferred dismantling with different duration of the deferment stage (20, 30, 40 years) were considered.

The optimal option was selected based on the cost-benefit principle taking into account a number of key factors: compliance with safety requirements, equipment and technologies for decommissioning, radiation and physical condition of the facility, issues on radioactive waste management, social aspect, etc.

According to the comparative analysis of the strategies, it was concluded that the deferred dismantling of operating NPP units in Ukraine with a 30-year deferment is the most acceptable.

The Energoatom Company assessed also total (per one power unit) and specific (per unit of defined power) expenses for decommissioning of VVER-440 and VVER-1000 power units.

  Total expenses (per 1 power unit) Specific expenses (per 1 MW of defined power)
Million, UAH Million, USD Million, UAH Million, USD
VVER-440 2303.0 288.1 5.52 0.69
VVER-1000 2934.5 367.1 2.93 0.37

According to the report of the European Commission for 2016, plans for decommissioning of European NPPs are much more expensive than in Ukraine.

NPP Reactor Number of reactors

General cost of decommissioning

(million, euro)

Final date of decommissioning
Kozloduy NPP, Bulgaria VVER-440 4 1 107 2030
Bohunice NPP, Slovakia VVER -440 2 1 246 2025
Ignalina NPP, Lithuania RBMK-1500 2 3 377 2038

According to the information of German publication «Ndr.de», decommissioning of five VVER-2200 units at Greifswald NPP in German will require about 6.6 billion euro.

Cost accumulation for decommissioning in Ukraine

According to the Law of Ukraine “On the Regulation of Nuclear Safety Issues” No. 1868-IV of 24 June 2004, since 2005, the Energoatom makes deductions to the financial reserve for Decommissioning of nuclear facilities.

From 2005 to 2016, the annual amount of deductions to the financial reserve was UAH 283. 4 million. As of 31 December 2016, UAH 2 740, 268 million are accumulated in the reserve.

Since 1 January 2017, in accordance with the revision of “Decommissioning Concept for Operating NPPs in Ukraine” approved by Order of the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry No. 798 of 10 December 2015, the annual deductions to the financial reserve are UAH 785.4 million.

The financial reserve is controlled by the supervisory board.

According to the information provided by the Energoatom Company, the mechanism for protection of financial resources from inflation processes unfortunately does not work today. In addition, current mechanisms for the use of financial reserve funds are also not perfect.

The plans of the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine, the Energoatom Company and the supervisory board of the financial reserve include implementing a number of measures to settle the mentioned issues primarily due to improvement of the current legislation that regulates the issues on decommissioning of operating NPPs.

Uatom.org Editorial Board