Fuel loading begins at Leningrad II-2

July 21, 2020, 11:57AMNuclear News

Technicians at the Leningrad II-2 plant, where fuel loading recently took place. Photo: Rosenergoatom

The first of 163 nuclear fuel assemblies has been loaded into Leningrad II-2, marking the beginning of the Generation III+ unit’s physical startup, Rosenergoatom announced on July 19.

The electric power division of Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation, Rosenergoatom is the operator of all of Russia’s nuclear power plants. The fuel for Leningrad II-2, a 1,085-MWe VVER-1200 pressurized water reactor, was manufactured at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant, part of Rosatom subsidiary TVEL.

What they’re saying: “The startup is only the first step; we have a long way ahead of us,” said Vladimir Pereguda, director of the Leningrad plant. “This autumn, we will connect the unit to the grid and generate the first kilowatt hours of electricity, gradually mastering the reactor power levels up to 100 percent. At the same time, we will carry out hundreds of tests to confirm the reliable and safe operation of all technological systems and the safety system of the unit, so that at the beginning of 2021 we will put a new unit into commercial operation.”

More specifically: After fuel is loaded, the reactor will be brought to the minimum controllable power level (up to 1 percent), according to Rosenergoatom. The physical startup should last until September, at which time power startup will commence, to be followed by trial operation and integrated testing, the company said. The new unit will replace Leningrad I-2, a 925-MWe RBMK-1000 light-water-cooled graphite-moderated reactor that is scheduled to permanently cease operation at the end of this year, after 45 years of service.

Background: The VVER-1200 is the world’s only Generation III+ design in serial construction, according to Rosatom. The new Leningrad unit 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.

Earlier this month, Rosenergoatom announced that preparations have begun for the construction of two more VVER-1200 units at the Leningrad site.

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