A number of reactors in eastern Europe were shut down at the end of 2006 as a result of conditions set during the EU's enlargement.
Slovenia shut down one reactor of the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear plant in the country’s Trnava region on New Year’s Eve as part of an agreement reached during EU accession talks in 1999.
The decision to decommission one reactor of the station’s V1 block by the end of 2006 was made by former prime minister Mikulas Dzurinda with the second reactor of the V1 block due for decommissioning by the end of 2008.
The cost of decommissioning both reactors is estimated at Sk15.2 billion (€441 million).
Decommissioning the two 408 MW VVER pressurised water reactors is scheduled to begin in 2012 and take about 13 years at a cost of about €500 million.
Two other VVER reactors at the site have been extensively modernised.
New Year’s Eve also saw units 3 and 4 of Bulgaria’s Kozloduy nuclear power plant disconnected from the grid and shut down as part of the decommissioning process. The two 440 MW VVER units were also shut down in compliance with the European Union Accession Treaty.
Unit 3 was commissioned in 1980 and generated nearly 69 TWh with Unit 4 following in 1982, generating nearly 67 TWh. While the design lifetime of VVER-440 reactors is 30 fuel campaigns Unit 3 was in its 22nd fuel campaign, and Unit 4 in its 21st fuel campaign.
Two 1,000 MW reactors, Units 5 and 6, remain in operation at the plant.
Despite the closure it has been suggested that the plant could be restarted within three months if the EU were to reverse its decision on the reactors, which have been extensively modified.
Meanwhile, over in the UK British Nuclear Group confirmed that it reached the planned end of electricity generation at its Dungeness A and Sizewell A nuclear power stations, after some 40 years of operations, on New Year’s Eve.
The announcement marks the start of the defuelling and decommissioning phase. Under current strategy, the decommissioning period is scheduled to last up to 100 years, ending with the final site clearance and closure.
Sizewell A and Dungeness A will become the latest Magnox nuclear power stations to begin their decommissioning period, leaving only two of the UK’s first generation of commercial nuclear power stations operating.
The two unit Dungeness A began operating in 1965 and generated 438 MW of electricity while Sizewell A began operating in 1966. The next units scheduled to close are Oldbury unit 1 and 2 at the end of next year.