New unit delivers first electricity to Russian grid

October 30, 2020, 7:02AMNuclear News

Rosenergoatom, the electric power division of Russia’s state-owned nuclear power corporation Rosatom, announced on October 23 that Leningrad II-2 has been connected to the grid. The unit is one of two Generation III+ VVER-1200 pressurized water reactors at the Leningrad nuclear plant.

The reactor will replace Leningrad I-2, a 925-MWe RBMK-1000 light-water–cooled graphite-moderated reactor that will permanently cease operation at the end of 2020 after 45 years of service. Fuel loading at Leningrad II-2 began in July, and initial criticality was achieved in August. Following the trial operation, the unit will be shut down for an additional equipment inspection by a state commission before being put into commercial operation early next year, according to Rosenergoatom.

What they’re saying: “This is a significant event, both for the power unit itself and for the country,” said Alexander Lokshin, Rosatom’s first deputy director general for operations management. “There are two important milestones in the power unit setup process. One is the first bringing the reactor to a critical state at the minimum-controlled power level when it ‘awakens.’ The second, which is even more important, is the first connection to the grid, when the power unit begins to perform its function and produce electricity. Today, the country received another 1,200-MW unit and strengthened its credibility as a leading power in the field of nuclear energy.”

Andrey Petrov, Rosenergoatom’s director general, added: “The new power unit was connected to the unified power system and tested at a capacity of 240 MW. The next step is trial operation, when the reactor is tested at up to 100 percent power capacity. Each stage is accompanied by numerous equipment checks and dynamic operational tests aimed at stimulating shutdown at various power levels.”

Background: The VVER-1200 is the world’s only Generation III+ design in serial construction, according to Rosatom. Leningrad II-2 will be the fourth in the series, following Novovoronezh II-1 and -2, launched in 2016 and 2019, respectively, and Leningrad II-1, launched in 2017.

In addition, Rosenergoatom announced earlier this year that preparations have begun for the construction of two more VVER-1200 units at the Leningrad site.

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