Important Note: This website contains historical data from the INSP project. As of 2004 the site is no longer maintained and certain sections do not work correctly.

Chornobyl Initiatives Reports and Publications Photo Library Nuclear Reactor Profiles and Accomplishments About our Program Web site sections
- Introduction
- Main Map
- Country List
- RBMK-1000
- VVER-1000
- VVER-440/230 / 213
- Russia
- Ukraine

Central and Eastern European Countries

- Hungarian Republic
- Bulgaria
- Lithuania
- Czech Republic
- Slovakia

Introduction - Central and Eastern European Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear power plants in central and eastern Europe benefited from the international attention directed to the Chornobyl accident. The RBMK reactors in Lithuania were the objects of immediate attention because of their similarity to Chornobyl Unit 4. However, the VVER reactors that form the bulk of the nuclear power units in the region also received new and prolonged analysis. The countries of central and eastern Europe and Armenia themselves also produced studies of the VVER reactors that served as a basis for upgrading safety and performance. They looked into issues of quality control, preventive maintenance, operator training, and safety management, among others. Currently, besides the RBMK units in Lithuania, VVER units operate in Armenia, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Hungary, and Bulgaria.

Although the years immediately after Chornobyl were active, those after the fall of the communist governments saw safety activities proliferate. When the Berlin Wall fell, 21 VVER units were operating in eastern Europe: 14 were the 440-MW V230 design and 6 the newer 440-MW V213; one was a 1000-MW unit. The closer scrutiny and changed political and regulatory conditions led to changes in safety analyses for all the central and eastern European Soviet-era reactor sites. VVER reactor units were canceled or closed in Germany and Poland. All the region's countries had to deal with more difficult arrangements for procuring fuel and disposing of nuclear waste.

Fuel Supply and Waste Disposal

Until the loosening of ties between the Soviet Union and its neighbors, the Soviet Union provided nuclear fuel for Soviet-designed reactors and reprocessed the spent fuel. However, an environmental law passed in 1992 and heightened concern about costs and safety convinced the Duma, the Russian parliament, to oppose a return to the former agreements. Thus, central and eastern European countries have negotiated with mixed results for Russian fueling and reprocessing services. The uncertainties in currency values and the financial troubles of these nations have also made it difficult to reach nuclear refueling arrangements.

By defining spent fuel as a raw material, the Russian government of Boris Yeltsin has circumvented some of the environmental regulations forbidding Russia to take in spent fuel from other countries. However, the Duma has attempted to redefine spent fuel as waste, which under the more restrictive environmental law would be excluded.

The following sections focus on the nations of central and eastern Europe and Armenia that have currently operating reactors of Soviet-era design: Armenia, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Lithuania.


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