Cuba's Unfinished Nuclear Plant

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Sept. 11 2013 9:38 AM

Concrete Crypt for Communist Dreams: Cuba's Unfinished Nuclear Power Plant 

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a new travel blog. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

In 1976, Communist companions Cuba and the Soviet Union signed a deal to build a nuclear power plant in Juraqua. Construction on the first of two nuclear reactors began in 1983 with a target operational date of 1993. But a few years before the reactor's scheduled completion, the USSR collapsed. The flow of crucial Soviet funds ceased, 300 Russian technicians went home, and Cuba was forced to suspend construction on its badly needed power plant.

Lacking nuclear fuel and without the primary components installed, the plant sat in limbo until December 2000, when Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Cuba. Putin offered Fidel Castro a belated $800 million to finish the first reactor. Despite Cuba's reliance on imported oil for power, Castro declined. Project status: officially abandoned.

Advertisement

The unfinished plant, a huge, domed concrete structure, sits on the Caribbean coast, across the bay from the city of Cienfuegos.

Power places:


View Juragua Nuclear Power Plant in a larger map

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 23 2014 12:43 PM Occupy Wall Street How can Hillary Clinton be both a limousine liberal and a Saul Alinsky radical?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Head of Security Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would A Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 2:31 PM 3 Simpsons Showrunners Reflect on New Fans and the “Classic Era” Myth
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 1:50 PM Oh, the Futility! Frogs Try to Catch Worms Off of an iPhone Video.
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 1:38 PM Why Is Fall Red in America but Yellow in Europe? A possible explanation, 35 million years in the making.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.