Leningrad 3 has been reconnected to the grid after a three-year backfitting and maintenance outage which was originally due to last no more than 18 months. The station as a whole has been affected more recently by a fuel supply problem rooted in Russia’s current economic crisis. The plant was unable to raise the R250 000 to pay licence fees and an insurance contribution, necessary for recommissioning unit 3, although the unit has been ready to restart since August. The station has been able to operate only one unit for the past two months, and as a result has achieved only 88.6% of its 8-month target.
“Unit 3, following the renovation, will fully meet current international requirements for nuclear, radiation and fire safety,” says Stanislav Pavlov of the nuclear inspectorate, Gosatomnadzor. The renovation of unit 4 began in June and it is expected to be closed for two years.
During upgrading of unit 3 new safety equipment was installed and a number of assemblies were replaced. It is the first time that repair work has been conducted inside the core. In addition, as a new money-raising scheme, a reactor channel has been set up to irradiate large silicon slabs with a diameter of up to 305 millimetres. This should make it possible to obtain special semi-conductor raw material which is in great demand worldwide