Pāvilostas NPP

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In the late 1960s and early 1970s the USSR Designing Institute at the Ministry of Energetics and Electrification started looking out for possibilities to locate NPPs on the banks of various lakes in Latvia. However, this idea was postponed after the government of Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR) agreed to build Ignalina NPP on its territory.[1]

Nevertheless, already in 1975 the USSR Ministry of Energetics and Electrification repeatedly suggested that the government of Latvian SSR should use nuclear energy and reserve possible building sites for the future NPP. The government of Latvian SSR did not respond to this proposal since it had found an alternative by agreeing to build Daugavpils Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP).[2] Here I would like to add that this HPP was never built because in 1987 the project was cancelled.

The temporarily suspended NPP project was renewed in 1980. Three sites were offered for the final choice:

  • 8 km south from Pāvilosta (30 km from Liepāja, the third biggest city in Latvia);
  • 5 km north from Pāvilosta;
  • and in Pape, which is situated 24 km from Liepāja and 28 km from the border with Lithuania.

In 1981 the government of Latvian SSR gave a principal consent to reserve two options for the construction site. The USSR Ministry of Energetics and Electrification envisaged the construction of an NPP with a 3,000 MWe electric capacity.

The final project of the NPP differed from the original one. The NPP was designed with four power generating units and 4,000 MWe total electric capacity. They had to be water-water nuclear reactors VVER 1000. The estimated amount of produced electricity was 22.5 TWh per year. Total number of the staff: 2,100 persons. The estimated construction period consisted of:

  • the time of designing and preparation: 6 years;
  • the construction time of the first unit: 6 years;
  • the total construction time: 12 years.[3]

15 000 workers would have been engaged in construction works.

Later the USSR Ministry of Energetics and Electrification announced to the government of Latvian SSR that the construction of a larger NPP would have to be envisaged on the reserved sites with 6,000 MWe total electric capacity.

But, once again, these plans were interrupted. Two events in the 1980s - „perestroika“ and Chernobyl disaster – stopped their implementation.