First RPV for Turkish nuclear plant arrives

The Unit 1 reactor pressure vessel arrives at the Akkuyu site. Photo: Akkuyu Nuclear JSC

Russian company Atommash has delivered the reactor pressure vessel for Unit 1 of the Akkuyu plant, the nuclear power facility under construction in Turkey, Akkuyu Nuclear JSC announced recently.

Atommash is a branch of AEM Technologies, which is part of Atomenergomash, the equipment-building division of Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation. Akkuyu Nuclear, based in Ankara, was established to implement the Russian-Turkish project.

It took some three years to manufacture the 330-metric ton, 12-meter-long reactor pressure vessel and 20 days to transport it from the Atommash plant in Volgodonsk, Russia, to the eastern cargo terminal at the Akkuyu plant site, according to Akkuyu Nuclear.

Russia retires reactor at Leningrad plant

The Leningrad nuclear power plant’s Unit I-2, a 925-MWe RBMK-1000 light-water–cooled graphite-moderated reactor, was permanently shut down on November 10, according to Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation. The shutdown occurred at 12:30 a.m. Moscow time.

The unit was the oldest operating reactor at the plant, having achieved initial criticality in May 1975 and entered commercial operation in February 1976. Two additional RBMK-1000s remain in operation at Leningrad—Units I-3 and I-4, both of which have been in operation for about 40 years.

The retired reactor is to be replaced by Unit II-2, one of two 1,085-MWe Generation III+ VVER-1200 pressurized water reactors at the Leningrad site. The new unit was connected to the Russian grid in October, and on November 6 it received regulatory approval to begin pilot operation. (Leningrad’s other VVER-1200, Unit II-1, started commercial operation in 2018.) Following the trial operation, Unit II-2 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, Rosatom’s electric power division.

Newly connected Belarusian reactor powers down

On November 8, less than a week after becoming Belarus’s first nuclear reactor to be connected to the power grid, and only one day after a visit to the Belarusian site from the country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, to celebrate the accomplishment, Belarusian-1 was forced to cease power production, a report from the Associated Press states.

Belarus’s first nuclear reactor connects to grid

The Belarusian nuclear power plant. Photo: Rosatom

Belarus on November 3 became the latest nation to begin generating electricity with nuclear energy when Unit 1 of the Belarusian nuclear plant was connected to the country’s power grid.

The Belarusian construction project, located in the Grodno region of Belarus, features twin 1,109-MWe pressurized water reactors, supplied by Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation. The units are VVER-1200 Generation III+ designs, model AES 2006. Just last week, a VVER-1200 was connected to the Russian grid at the Leningrad plant.

The start-up program for Unit 1 began on August 7, when the first fuel assembly with fresh nuclear fuel was loaded into the reactor, according to a Rosatom press release. The reactor achieved first criticality on October 11.

Once fully completed, the plant is expected to supply approximately 18 billion kWh of low-carbon electricity to the Belarus national grid every year, Rosatom said.

New unit delivers first electricity to Russian grid

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.

TVEL develops new fuel for Hungarian reactors

TVEL Fuel Company, a division of Russian atomic energy corporation Rosatom, has completed a project to develop and validate a new nuclear fuel modification for the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary, the company announced on October 13.

According to TVEL, the full package of modification documents has been handed over to MVM Paks Ltd., the plant’s operator, for further licensing of the new fuel by Hungary’s national nuclear power regulator. TVEL added that the project’s first fuel assemblies passed acceptance testing at the company’s Elemash Machine-Building plant, a fuel fabrication facility in Elektrostal, near Moscow.

The first consignment of the modified fuel is scheduled for delivery to Paks later this year. The contract between TVEL and MVM Paks for development of the new fuel was signed in late 2017.

U.S., Russia finalize amendment to uranium import agreement

The U.S. Department of Commerce and Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, have signed a final amendment to the Agreement Suspending the Antidumping Investigation on Uranium from the Russian Federation. The amendment extends the 1992 pact through 2040 and reduces U.S. reliance on uranium from Russia during that time period, the DOC announced October 6.

Previously, the agreement was set to expire on December 31 of this year. According to the DOC, the document’s expiration “would have resulted in unchecked imports of Russian uranium, potentially decimating the front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle in the United States.”

The final amendment is unchanged from the draft version, released for public comment on September 11. (For more specifics on the amendment, see our story on the draft here.)

Reactor pressure vessel for Akkuyu-1 shipped, steam generators delivered

The reactor pressure vessel for Akkuyu-1. Photo: Rosatom

Rosatom, Russia’s state atomic energy corporation, announced last week that the reactor pressure vessel for Unit 1 of Turkey’s Akkuyu plant has been shipped from the Atommash plant in Volgodonsk, Russia. Also, the four steam generators for the reactor have arrived at the Vostochny Cargo Terminal, near the port of Mersin in southern Turkey. Atommash has shipped all the most important large-sized equipment for the primary circuit of the reactor for Akkuyu-1, Rosatom said.

Atommash is a branch of AEM Technologies, which is part of Atomenergomash, the equipment-building division of Rosatom.

Newest Russian icebreaker ready to hit the ice

The Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika. Photo: Rosatom

The Arktika, Russia’s latest nuclear-powered icebreaker, sailed from the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg last week, bound for the Murmansk seaport. The voyage is scheduled to take approximately two weeks, during which time the vessel will be tested “in ice conditions,” according to Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation.

Department of Commerce, Rosatom sign draft amendment to uranium agreement

The U.S. Department of Commerce and Rosatom on September 12 initialed a draft amendment extend the Agreement Suspending the Antidumping Investigation on Uranium from the Russian Federation, signed in 1992. Rosatom is Russia’s state atomic energy corporation.

Should the amendment receive final approval, it will extend the agreement to 2040.

Leningrad II unit reaches first criticality

Rosatom officials and plant staff celebrate in the control room at Leningrad II-2 as the unit achieves first criticality. Photo: Rosatom

Rosenergoatom, the electric power division of Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear power corporation, announced on August 31 that Leningrad II-2 has achieved initial criticality. The unit is one of two Generation III+ VVER-1200 pressurized water reactors at the Leningrad nuclear plant.

Leningrad II-2 is scheduled for commercial start early next year, replacing 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.

Fuel loading starts at Belarusian NPP

The Belarusian nuclear power plant. Photo: Rosatom

Fuel loading has commenced at Unit 1 of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, according to Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation. The first fuel assembly was loaded into the unit at 11:45 a.m. (local time) on August 7, the company said, adding that a total of 163 assemblies will have been loaded by month’s end.

The plant, Belarus’s only nuclear power facility, houses two 1,109-MWe VVER-1200 pressurized water reactors. Unit 1 is scheduled to begin commercial operation later this year, with a Unit 2 startup slated for 2021.

Hydraulic testing completed on Akkuyu-1 reactor vessel

The Akkuyu-1 reactor pressure vessel. Photo: Atomenergomash

Atommash has completed hydraulic testing of the reactor pressure vessel for Unit 1 at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, the four-unit facility currently under construction on the Mediterranean coast in southern Turkey. Atommash is part of Atomenergomash, the engineering division of Rosatom, which is Russia’s state atomic energy agency.

Fuel loading begins at Leningrad II-2

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.

VVER units planned for Leningrad and Smolensk

Leningrad nuclear plant. Photo: Rosenergoatom

Preparations have begun for the construction of four nuclear reactors in Russia—two VVER-1200 units at the Leningrad plant and two VVER-TOI units near the Smolensk plant, according to Rosenergoatom, a division of Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation Rosatom.

Rosenergoatom operates all of Russia’s nuclear power facilities. Authorization to move forward with the new-build projects was signed by Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s director general.

Rosatom, Framatome, and GE partner on proposed Bulgarian nuclear plant

Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation, announced on June 18 that it has teamed up with France’s Framatome and General Electric’s GE Steam Power to participate in a tender to construct the Belene nuclear plant in northern Bulgaria. The Belene project would involve the construction of two AES-92 units, similar to the reactors that Rosatom supplied to India.

Russia lays keel for nuclear-powered icebreaker

Rendering of a Russian Project 22220 icebreaker. Image: Hanko/Wikimedia Commons

The keel for Rosatomflot’s Yakutia, the third Project 22220 nuclear-powered icebreaker, was laid at the United Shipbuilding Corporation’s Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg on May 26, according to a press release from Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation. Rosatomflot is a subsidiary of Rosatom.