Nuclear Construction Going Full Tilt

Work on the nuclear construction sites in Russia is going full tilt. Leningrad II and Rostov NPP are preparing to go critical soon. You will find more news from Russia’s nuclear plant sites in our report.

The first VVER-1200 unit of Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant II passed another milestone as the Russian Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision (Rostechnadzor) started a comprehensive technical audit and inspection of the unit. It will take two weeks and aims to confirm that the unit is ready to achieve criticality. Specific attention will be paid to the plant’s personnel and qualification of the employees. Following the audit, Rostechnadzor will express its opinion on the unit’s readiness for the reactor startup when fresh nuclear fuel assemblies will be loaded into the core of the most powerful reactor of Leningrad II. The first VVER-1200 unit of Leningrad II is scheduled to go critical in 2017.

Rostov NPP

Dummy assemblies are being unloaded from the reactor of Rostov Unit 4. These are assemblies that are used instead of standard fuel assemblies during the commissioning period until the regulator issues a fuel loading permit. Dummy assemblies have absolutely the same design, size and weight, and are made of the same material (except for nuclear fuel) as standard fuel assemblies.

Engineers working on site are checking all the components and electric systems of the nuclear island. Checks of the primary and secondary circuit equipment follow the established plan of preparing Unit 4 to going critical. “The audit of equipment will allow us to conclude whether the reactor can go critical, that is whether we can load nuclear fuel into the reactor core,” said Oleg Vysotsky who is in charge of the nuclear island at Unit 4. The audit and inspection started on 17 October and will take 25 days. Rostov Unit 4 is scheduled to go critical in 2017.

Novovoronezh II

Pre-stressing operations on the internal containment structures were completed at Unit 2 of Novovoronezh Nuclear Plant II. This important stage was finished two weeks faster than the same operations at Novovoronezh II Unit 1 a year before. At present, the condition of reinforced concrete structures is being monitored with automatic sensors. Monitoring results will be used to make a conclusion whether the containment building is ready for pressure and air tightness tests. The second unit of Novovoronezh II is based on a VVER-1200 reactor and complies with post-Fukushima requirements set out by the IAEA. The unit will be put in operation in 2019.

Kursk II

The work is ongoing at the site of Kursk Nuclear Power Plant II. The first geotechnical surveys were completed on the sand and gravel base of the plant’s Unit 1. Two out of four scheduled surveys confirmed its reliability. The other surveys are in process of checking density and dimensional stability of the base. “The soil base for Unit 1 should be completed on 23 October. This enables us to start a new construction phase – reinforcement of the foundation slab for the reactor building of Unit 1 – in December 2017,” the director for the construction of Kursk NPP-2 Nikolay Mitrofanov said. Foundation concreting is planned to begin in the spring of 2018. Kursk II is designed to replace the existing Kursk Nuclear Power Plant that will be taken out of operation in the years to come. Its first two units with VVER-TOI, a new-type reactor, will be commissioned simultaneously with decommissioning of Units 1 and 2 of the existing nuclear plant.