September 22, 2020

Cuba: Unfinished nuclear power station


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1413130163733_Image_galleryImage_On_Cuba_s_Caribbean_coastBy James Gordon From Daily Mail UK

Cuba’s Soviet Legacy: Inside the Caribbean island’s unfinished nuclear power station that lays just 180 miles off the Florida coast

Cuba is an nation full of 1950s automobiles but at one time the Caribbean island was almost a nuclear power, less than 100 miles from the United States coastline.

It was 1976 when Cuba’s revolutionary government, headed by , was began looking for a solution to create a reliable and stable form of energy.

After talks between Cuba and the , an agreement was reached to construct a twin-reactor nuclear plant near the southern town of Juragua.

Built with Russian money, it was suggested that just one of the reactors would provide enough energy to cater to 15% of Cuba. A new city was built in 1983 to house the site’s workers known as Ciudad Nuclear.

The United States were horrified at the idea of two 440-megawatt Soviet-built nuclear power reactors within 30 minutes flying time of the Florida coastline.

In the end, they need not have worried and it’s unlikely that Cuba’s nuclear power station will ever be completed. When the began to crumble in 1991, the completion date got pushed back to the mid-90s and the money began to dry up.

Now all that remains are the ruins of bigger political ambitions to provide true power to the people.

Photographer Darmon Richter managed to sneak in and take some revealing photos.

See the full collection here: or


Cuba’s revolutionary government, headed by Fidel Castro, had long been looking for a solution in the form of nuclear energy… and that solution seemed to arrive in 1976, after talks between Cuba and the USSR resulted in an agreement to construct a twin-reactor nuclear plant

The solution seemed to arrive in 1976, after talks between Cuba and the USSR resulted in an agreement to construct a twin-reactor nuclear plant

The plant near the southern town of Juragua, was funded with Soviet money, with early projections suggesting that the completion of the first reactor alone would cater to over 15% of Cuba’s energy needs

Construction began in 1983, as the foundations were lain for the two reactors along with a sizeable turbine hall at a site close to the Caribbean

The United States, however, opposed Cuba’s nuclear program from the get-go. The Juragua site lays just 180 miles south of Florida

The US was less than enthusiastic about having two 440-megawatt Soviet-built nuclear power reactors at their back door

The fall of the Soviet Union had a crippling effect on the project. The money from Moscow dried up, and in September 1992, Fidel Castro announced the Juragua project temporarily suspended

The first reactor was estimated somewhere around 90-97% complete, with 37% of equipment fully installed; the second reactor had not reached more than 30% completion

There have been numerous talks about bringing the Cuban nuclear program back to life

In 1995, the Russian Federation granted Cuba a $50 million loan for support work at the Juragua site. It still fell a long way short though, of the estimated $800 million required to complete the two reactors

President Vladimir Putin visited Cuba in 2000, and supposedly offered Fidel Castro $800 million with which to finish the project… which Castro refused

In October 2013 Cuba’s new president, the younger brother Raúl Castro, accepted Russia’s gesture of ‘brotherly love’: and Putin cancelled $32 billion of debt owed by Cuba to the Soviet Union

The building twisted in on itself, a labyrinthine knot of winding passages and worn stairvases

The building contains various chambers including some with half-furnished with half-built apparatus, others open and bare

A narrow alley runs between the security wall and the back of the turbine hall. Photographer Darmon Richter spotted a gap in the brickwork – a hole large enough to climb through, that had been hastily patched up with a few clinging strands of barbed wire

The view from the top of the reactor on the sixteenth floor provides an overview of the doomed containment structure

The bare chamber was riddled with deep holes and square pits that dropped away into darkness. According to some of the local stories the reactor went as far beneath the ground as above

Other rooms contained pillars, festooned in switch boxes and wires… others with arms and frames presumably designed for holding something delicate

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