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In 1974 preparations started for construction of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP). At that time the most powerful in the world INPP was build to satisfy not only Lithuanian but also the former Soviet Union’s single North-West power system needs.

Next year a memorial stone was placed to mark the site of the would-be Sniechkus (currently Visaginas) town. In March 1978 the earth-moving work was started for the construction of energy Unit 1 of INPP. The work was completed by September. At the end of 1978, there were 5067 employees working at the construction.

Visaginas Town Symbol
On 17 April 1979, USSR Council of Ministers adopted a resolution that gave the green light for the construction of INPP. At the same time the construction of the 7-meter-deep foundation for the Unit 1 was completed. On 12 December, by the order of the Minister of Medium-Machine Building Ministry of the USSR, 10 ministries and 45 factories had to ensure that Unit 1 at the INPP was put into operation in 1982.

The view of the Unit 1 in 1980

Simultaneously, the construction of Unit 2 was underway – in December 1980 the earth-moving works were completed. The pace of construction was brisk; the number of employees was continuously growing. In 1982, 11,286 employees were working at the INPP. On 31 December 1983, Unit 1 was commissioned.

Loading of the Nuclear Fuel into the Unit 1 Reactor, 1983. Photo by A.Gulevicius

The construction of Unit 3 began. 13,573 persons were employed in the operation of Unit 1 and construction of other units. In 1986 the erection works of Unit 2 were completed. Originally, Unit 2 was to be launched in 1986 but commissioning postponed because of the accident on Chernobyl NPP where RBMK-type reactors were used. Unit 2 was put into operation on 31 August 1987. By that time, approximately 60 percent of Unit 3 was completed but after the Chernobyl accident the government of the LSSR requested USSR authorities to stop the construction of Unit 3. The construction of Unit 3 was preserved and totally suspended in 1989.

Unit 3

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