97 At the Nuclear Power Plant

At the Nuclear Power Plant

Posted on April 29, 2009 by

Russian nuclear power plant

One Russian blogger has paid a visit to the modern Russian nuclear plant. Normally it is forbidden to take photos there, but they have made an exception for him. So now we have a rare chance to see what's inside of the Russian most modern power plant.

This power plant is situated near Smolensk city. Its power generation potential is 3 Megawatt and it was build for 8 years, from 1982 to 1990. There were planned to be four nuclear reactors, but because of the panic after the Chernobyl accident the forth block has not been completed, so there are three of them for now.

Let's go inside.

Across the network:


Russian nuclear power plant 2

In Russia there are now 10 active power plants. This one produces 1/7 of the overral electricity outcome of Russian nuclear powerplants, so it is a big one.

Russian nuclear power plant 3

Because this powerplant was completed after the Chernobyl, they paid a special attention to secure it from alike accidents. There is even a saying that "The sci-fi writers are on the second place by richness of imagination, the first place is occupied by the nuclear plant security engineers", meaning that they need to make it safe just for some unimaginable events that not very likely to happen, but still the security system should be ready for them.

The outside structure that secures reactors themselves can stand the blast that exceeds ten times the power of atomic bomb blast, just imagine.


Across the network:

97 Responses to “At the Nuclear Power Plant”

  1. Maraudon says:

    First! Nuclear power ftw!

    • Uncle Sam says:

      Meh… I’ve seen better NPPs in the good ol’ states.

    • Miss India says:

      The poor russian people still use gauges and dials that look like they are from the 1960’s in their most modern power plants. American power plants are operated remotely by workers that telecommute. Russia didn’t learn anything from chernoble and they’re still putting their people in harms way by making them work inside their dangerous nuclear power plants. Sad really. :(

      • Meshca says:

        Miss India. Ever been to a reactor in the states?

        There are currently no modern NPPs

      • matt says:

        Miss India is just a troll with a funny gimmick (IMO).
        As for all the gauges and controls, I love these sort of things, especially from the 60s-80s. The last 12 or so pictures made me want to cum

      • John says:

        A lot of electrical equipment will carry on working in high levels of radiation where electronic equipment would fail. The Americans laughed at Russian fighter planes still having valve radios, until they found that the Electro Magnetic Pulse from a nuclear explosion completely zapped their solid-state radios.

      • socket says:

        typical indian talk right there, and no im not from Pakistan.

  2. AZso says:

    Are you sure about the potential? Only 3 MegaWatts? It seems not too much.. (In Hungary 1 reactor creating 450-500 Megawatts.)

    BTW, good collection of pictures. It’s good to see that there are places which are working and looking well. As I see this is the same construction like Tschernobyl was, is it?

  3. Mr. Pakistan says:

    Do not ‘do it’ with mother Russia, or else Chernobyl will come again.

  4. dan says:

    The generating capacity is 3000MW, not 3MW.

  5. a says:

    it’s most likely it can produce 3 gigawatts in total – not 3 megawatts.

    something mentioned travelling faster than the speed of light? nothing can do that.

    • Josh says:

      The speed of light is variable based on the medium that it is traveling through, like the speed of sound. It is slightly different in water (probably the case in the above photo) then it is through a vacuum (c). The wikipedia article liked to is useful. It states that the speed of light in water is approximately 3/4 the speed of light in a vacuum.

      • Drwo says:

        There is a difference between the speed at which light moves and the speed of light. You are refering to the spped at which light moves. The speed of light is defined only for vacuum.

        Kind of like max speed for a car always stays the same but can’t be achieved on a steep uphill.

        And based on the current theories nothing can move faster than light in vacuum.

      • otherguy says:

        Actually modern physics doesn’t say anything about something moving “faster” then the speed of light. It states that it requires an infinite amount of energy to accelerate a particle beyond the speed of light.

        Very careful distinction needs to be made. Because it is theoretically possible that a particle can be traveling faster then the speed of light if the particle was ALREADY traveling that speed when it was created (tachyon’s for example). Also things at the quantum level act differently then observed experiments at the atomic level would lead us to believe.

    • Zlobniy Shurik says:

      Nothing can do that in vacuum (where is light speed at maximum)…Particles can travel through some medium faster than light speed in that medium, but not faster than light speed in the vacuum.

      P.S. Uranium 235 (not 255).

  6. Rodriguez says:

    In that case only one thing will terrible: it`s the Homer Simpson`s “D`oh!”

    • Homer says:

      Come on man give me a break,I know everything there is to know about a nuclear reactor!

      I did spell nuclear correctly right?

  7. russia in dark says:

    Where is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ? :)

  8. Zipp says:

    Mr Bond, we’ve been expecting you!

  9. John from sunny central PA says:

    It looks like the engineers are playing minesweeper in the second to last one.

    Good for them.

  10. greg says:

    glory to good engineering

  11. roger says:

    Look at that in the control room. An Aeron chair! Now we know where they all went after the .com meltdown.

  12. Laurente says:

    The next to last shot reminds the Minesweeper screen :)

    Very impressive and it seems to be in nice order but I don’t believe that authorities let the camera see everything… Too many tided up things don’t match to the russian customs. I hope this time I’m wrong but we never know.

  13. Jason says:

    Someday I will remember to purchase a plug adapter so I can use my electric shaver in Russia.

    It works with the Russian voltage but the prongs on the plug are not small or round enough to fit in the wall socket!

  14. R says:

    (“Bows to the Ruskies”)

    Nice Plant! Clean and appears to be well maintained. And as for analog gauge, being a former plant operator and maintenance person myself I can tell you that anybody can fix and calibrate them which is safer than non. Then, when your nuke certified gauge comes in, you change it. All of this and people relate better to a dial, i.e. this is the reason why there are LCD dial gauge inserts to replace digital read outs. :D


  15. Cris says:

    looks great, great enginnering. 4 reactors x 750MW = 3000MW

    • zax says:

      Yes, I am always impressed with the power of Soviet/Russian reactors. In Yugoslavia we had only one nuclear power plant, it was built by Westinghouse, started operating in mid ’80s, and had the total power of some 350 MW (NE Krško, http://www.nek.si). It is located in Slovenia, near the border with Croatia, and it is still working. I really do not know why somebody bothered to build a NPP (with all the associated risks), for such small power.

    • I am says:

      It is wrong. 4 reactors, each 3000MWe = 12000Mw. But only 4×1000 electric power.

  16. Alexander says:

    This power plant has reactors of the same type (RBMK-1000) as the Chernobyl plant.

  17. Shooroop says:

    Who wants to meet with me?))) I’m from Russia. Sorry for offtop

  18. Josef Stalin says:

    Yep, only a matter of time before the KGB shows up and he’s taken to Siberia.

  19. LN says:

    Very nice overview of nuclear plant. The large resolution photos are very good.

  20. Yeah, they still run RBMKs. They’ve changed a bunch of things so that the reactors are more safely operated.

    After Chernobyl, they increased the fissile content of the fuel so that they can get critical with fewer control rods out (which sounds bad, but…) and more negative temperature reactivity coefficient.

    I suspect they’ve also changed the control rod design so they don’t have graphite tips anymore. Those tips were there before to reduce neutron leakage when a control rod was pulled out. The problem is that when the graphite tip is in the middle of the core, during rod insertion, you get MORE reactivity. When the Chernobyl operators tried to save it by dropping all the rods in, they got a little extra reactivity, and the reactor blew when all those rods were halfway down.

    An operating reactor makes and burns up lots of Xenon, which is a strong neutron poison. When you quickly shut down a reactor, you end up with a lot of Xenon in the thing which makes it very touchy to start back up. The safer thing to do is wait a day for the Xenon to decay away. Chernobyl blew when a manager told the operator to start it back up immediately by pulling out lots of control rods to overcome the negative reactivity of the Xenon. When they got to criticality, the fission power ramped up and the reactor burned all its Xenon, and the reactivity shot up. They got a huge power surge and boom.

    My guess is that if a manager ever tells an RBMK operator to pull lots of rods out in order to start a Xenon poisoned reactor, the operators will probably have the guards beat him senseless.

  21. Ca says:

    In soviet russia, minesweeper plays you

  22. MajorV says:

    This looks so much like chernobyl it’s scary, I really hope they did their homework on this one…

    • R says:

      As with three mile island here in the states, the number one cause of the accident was human intervention ordered by the on duty “political” officer (These political officers are a topic all within themselves). If the automation both plants were allowed to do their thing, there would be two more nice sweet cranking out the watts. The you ask why there such a mess at chernobyl? Simple: containment structure.

      Western reactor structure, especially the french ones, are deliberately built for such catastrophes. 3MI’s containment still glows blue on the inside, he he, but not on the outside. Chernobyl, can we say,”Sheet Metal” campers? That is correct. The garage my dads trucking company has is better built than most old soviet containment structures.

      But most importantly, it looks like the Russians are picking up baton and running with this situation and taking corrective action to make sure that politics does not interfere with good science. I think they will do alright. Remember, the worlds greatest scientist and engineers come from Russian and if you do not believe me, just remember they fought the cold war with pencil and paper, not fancy dancy software.

      Good work fellas.


      • Geko771 says:

        There is no such thing as a “Soviet Containment Structure”. They never built them because “Disasters can’t and won’t happen.” This design is almost an exact copy of Chernobyl. The Chernobyl disaster would have been much less serious had there been a containment structure in place.

  23. redvard says:

    Uranium has no the 255th isotope, only 235th

  24. [...] photographs give us a never-before-seen glimpse into the workings of a Russian Nuclear plant, supposedly the [...]

  25. [...] English Russia » At the Nuclear Power Plant (tags: nuclear russia photography blog journalism Security powerplant) [...]

  26. Rachel Bartlett says:

    2nd photo: clear blue sky, no chemtrails. I am so jealous… I want to live in Russia!

  27. No title says:

    [...] At the Nuclear Power Plant (English [...]

  28. Miss Estonia says:

    Estonia / Finland doesnt have smart people to build NPP.

  29. mchelaid says:

    great photos! thanks for sharing it….

  30. [...] At the Nuclear Power Plant, a visit to a nuclear power plant located in Smolensk. There are lots of links to other interesting things at the bottom such as inflatable missiles designed to fool spy satellites. [...]

  31. Christian says:

    Damn This is Amazing!!!
    I have never seen something like that….
    Russia pOWEr!

  32. [...] Imgenes graciosas nunca antes vistas !! una planta nuclear por dentro: English Russia At the Nuclear Power Plant la wea impresionante un camin incendiado (lean la historia): http://englishrussia.com/?p=2954 [...]

  33. someguy says:

    faster than the speed of light!? then you cant see it :)

  34. WG says:

    wow they are cool, i love all the dials, makes for a really great photo! the tubby guy at the control desk is a bit like homer simpson!

  35. [...] Um blogueiro russo pagou para visitar uma moderna usina nuclear russa. Normalmente é proibido tirar fotos lá, mas eles fizeram uma pequena excessão. Então, agora temos a chance de ver como é por dentro de uma moderna usina nuclear russa. Essa usina fica próxima à cidade de Smolensk. Seu potencial é de 3 MW e foi construída em oito anos, de 1982 a 1990. Foi planejado que ela tivesse quatro reatores nucleares mas devido ao pânico causado pelo acidente de Chernobyl, o quarto bloco não foi completado, de forma que há três reatores em funcionamento. Na Rússia existem agora 10 usinas ativas. Essa aqui produz 1/7 de toda a produção elétrica vinda de usinas nucleares russas, portanto essa é uma das grandes. Vale uma visita. [...]

  36. haha says:

    Faster than the speed of light ??? Learn phisics and stop writing complete nonsence !!!

    • ZeroDrop says:

      “speed greater than the speed of light in that medium”. The affirmation is correct, is not talking about the absolute speed of light, measured in the vacuum. Is the speed of light in the water. As explained on comment #5.

  37. Dirk Egelkraut says:

    The plant is not near the Smolensk. The city is 100 kilometers away from the NPS. The station is placed at the city of Kurchatov in the Oblast Smolensk. The power station have after Leningrad 1 and 2 the best updated RBMK-1000, you see on picture 26 the unit 3 of the plant, the last RBMK where go into operation after the chernobyl accident. But the Leningrad-Units are better, they have LCD-Panels ans newer upgraded systems based on the MKER-1000-Design.

  38. BonnieBarko says:

    the scales are creepy. can anyone read or tip the right ‘gizmos’ in a state of increasing panic in an emergency?

  39. Arshed Qureshi says:

    I love Russia

  40. Carl Willis says:

    Outstanding photo tour of a modern RBMK-1000 power plant! I’m jealous of the guy who got to get a tour of this thing, with a camera no less.

    Nice to see photos of feedwater pumps, main circulation pumps, glowing spent fuel in the storage pits, and the modernized control room. The last photo, of the steam supply system being monitored on the computer, is especially interesting. You can see that this is Unit 2, operating with a power of 3185 MWt, with the usual three of four MCPs on each side in operation. The display shows the water level in the drum separators (“BS”), the pressure there (about 70 kg / m^2), and other parameters. The preceding photo shows what appears to be a longitudinal neutron flux plot in the lower right corner, and a means of examining data from in-core instrumentation in various channels. The word “SKALA” appears in these screens, implying perhaps that the old computer data aquisition system (with ferrite memory and magnetic tape!) is still in use at SAES in addition to the obviously more modern systems.

    Great photos.

  41. Dr. Chaos says:

    Excellent post ! I love this sort of thing. Thanks EЯ.

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  43. Ignas says:

    I wonder what would happen if you would let in Dee Dee into main control room….

    uhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. buttttooooooooonnnnnnnsssssssss………..

  44. Antonio says:

    I am working on this nuclear power plant. Employee on repair and maintenance of measuring instruments. I live at a distance of 3 km in the city. In the beautiful town Desnogorsk. Population is 32000 people. He is very young, only 35 years old. We are surrounded by beautiful nature. Sometimes I meet on the streets hedgehogs, apportionment of elk and calf in the morning saw a woodpecker on a tree. Cooling pond of the total area of 42 square kilometers of the employee to remove heat from the turbine condensers. Gets warm in summer to 30-32 degrees Celsius, higher than the ambient temperature, and water does not freeze in winter.
    We also distinguishes better living conditions than for example the people of the Far East. winter during the heating season, they have difficulties with fuel for the boiler. Since we have nuclear power boiler, we have a stable hot heat each winter.

    • PARK says:


  45. Ming Drognyv says:

    what kind of security is there around these sites?
    Is there any maps that show where these sites are

  46. Fefe says:

    “passes through an insulator at a speed greater than the speed of light” … Yes sure… there are no greatest speed than the light speed! lol

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  48. Unknown says:

    Wow, so many buttons!

  49. Anime says:

    Админ! Спс, порадовал!

  50. Steve says:

    Awesome pictures. It must be amazing to work in one. Shame we don’t have nuclear power in new zealand

  51. Cialis. says:


    Buy cialis….

  52. mhm says:

    Really cool pictures.
    But you did forget “so they say”

  53. stian says:

    i love russian teknology
    i vould love to take a bath in the lake sems
    to be nice temperature because of the coling exhaust water
    from the reactors i live in norway and the waters here
    are cold

  54. I believe in russian nuclear peaceful technology
    is reliable,and compeytant
    pramod deshpande
    senior scientific officer and engg
    atomic energy dept india
    vecc 1/af salt lake calcutta700064

  55. how are you know this ?

  56. [...] the rows and rows of physical buttons, gauges, and readouts that Russian technicians use to run this nuclear power plant. Built post-Chernobyl, the plant boasts a “30km-wide security zone around the plant itself, [...]

  57. [...] the rows and rows of physical buttons, gauges, and readouts that Russian technicians use to run this nuclear power plant. Built post-Chernobyl, the plant boasts a “30km-wide security zone around the plant itself, [...]

  58. BGDude says:

    And those fukcs want to build NPP of this kind in my beautiful country – Bulgaria.
    Never ever ever.
    Alkash dimwits

  59. [...] rows and rows of physical buttons, gauges, and readouts that Russian technicians use to run this nuclear power plant. Built post-Chernobyl, the plant boasts a “30km-wide security zone around the plant itself, [...]

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  65. PARK says:


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