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.

Tianwan-5 ready for commercial operation

Unit 5 at the Tianwan nuclear plant. Photo: CNNC

Unit 5 at the Tianwan nuclear power plant completed its full-power continuous operation assessment on September 8, meeting the conditions for commercial operation, China National Nuclear Corporation reported. The domestically designed ACPR-1000 pressurized water reactor will become CNNC’s 22nd reactor to provide power to China’s electric grid, raising the CNNC fleet’s installed capacity from 19.112 million kilowatts to 20.230 million, according to the company.

Tianwan-5 construction officially commenced on December 27, 2015, with the pouring of safety-related concrete. China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration issued a 40-year operating license for the unit on July 7 of this year, and two days later CNNC announced that first fuel loading had been completed. The reactor achieved initial criticality on July 27 and connected to the grid on August 8. Once commercial operation of the unit has begun, Tianwan will boast five operating reactors.

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.

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.