Russian unit begins commercial operation

March 24, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News

Unit II-2 at Russia’s Leningrad plant has entered commercial operation. Photo: Rosenergoatom

Unit II-2 at the Leningrad nuclear power plant entered commercial operation on March 22, bringing the total number of operating power reactors in the Russian fleet to 38, state-owned nuclear power corporation Rosatom has announced.

The 1,066-MWe unit is one of two Russian-designed Generation III+ VVER-1200 pressurized water reactors now in service at the plant, the other, Unit II-1, having begun commercial operation in October 2018. There are also two VVER-1200 units up and running at Russia’s Novovoronezh facility, and two additional VVER-1200s are scheduled for Leningrad later this decade. Further, VVER-1200 projects are afoot at the Belarusian plant in Belarus (two units), El Dabaa in Egypt (four units), Hanhikivi in Finland (one unit), and Paks in Hungary (two units).

Leningrad II-2 replaces Leningrad I-2, a 925-MWe RBMK-1000 light water–cooled graphite-moderated reactor that permanently ceased operation in November 2020 after 45 years of service.

Timeline: Fuel loading for the new unit commenced in July 2020, followed by initial criticality in August and grid connection in October. On March 10, following 15 days of pre-commissioning tests, Russia’s nuclear regulator, Rostechnadzor, confirmed the reactor’s compliance with design documentation, technical regulations, and energy efficiency requirements, according to Rosatom.

Testimonial: “Commissioning of the constructed power unit for commercial operation is the result of the concerted and efficient work of all participants of this large-scale project,” said Vladimir Pereguda, director of the Leningrad plant. “The new unit is safe and reliable. Hundreds of tests conducted during its pilot operation have confirmed the unit’s readiness for design operation while providing the rapidly developing northwest region of Russia with electricity and heat.”

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