Progress at Russia’s Leningrad and Leningrad II NPPs

2 September 2016

The transportation airlock was lifted to the reactor building at unit 1 of Russia’s Leningrad Phase Two (II) NPP on 1 September. The transportation airlock is the last large-size equipment that architecturally completes the reactor building. All essential equipment of the reactor hall is supplied through the technological opening where the transportation airlock is to be installed. After the transportation airlock is installed on the launching rails, it will be moved to the design place within the annulus. The work should be completed in during September. The airlock will be used during operation for all transportation operations for delivery of nuclear fuel and equipment during repairs. Unit 1 is due for start up in 2017.

Earlier in August, the last of four electric motors of reactor coolant pumps (RCPs) were installed at unit 1 of Leningrad II. The Electric equipment for RCPs was produced at Elektrotyzhmash-Privod (Lysva). They were assembled directly on the Leningrad II construction site. In addition, general contractor Concern Titan-2 said the rotor has been installed into the stator of the turbine generator at unit 1.

Meanwhile upgrades continue at the original Leningrad NPP. An automated chemical monitoring system for the reactor gas has been installed at unit 3 - the first time such equipment will be used at a Russian RBMK reactor, the plant said on 31 August. The new system was delivered to the plant as part of the cooperation programme between Russian nuclear utility Rosenergoatom and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM). The equipment was made by the US company GOW MAC Instrument Co.

Concentrations of nitrogen, helium, oxygen, methane, hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, as well as moisture in gas mixture, have to be monitored in the reactor. For example, a high content of oxygen may lead to oxidation and subsequent destruction of the graphite stack. Gas medium monitoring at Leningrad RBMK reactors is carried out continuously. Currently lab assistants at the chemical shop take samples and analyse them each shift. The new system “will make it possible to determine the composition of the main components and content of the admixture in the gas medium, which cool the graphite stack in the core (nitrogen-helium mixture) in automatic mode”, the statement explains. The new system is being prepared to operate in pilot mode and is planned for commissioning in 2017.

August also saw the 10,000th used fuel assembly cut into pieces at the Leningrad NPP and placed into a metal-and-concrete container at the plant’s fuel storage and handling shop, the plant said on 29 August. After cutting and packaging, the used assemblies are sent to the dry storage facility on the site of Mining and Chemical Combine in Zheleznogorsk. Over the entire period of operation of the four RBMK units at Leningrad, some 65,000 fuel assemblies will be unloaded from the reactor cores. “Thus, one sixth of assemblies has been already prepared for storage,” the plant notes.

Since 2014 the used fuel container storage facility at Leningrad NPP has been cutting 12 SNFs a day and loading one container a week. According to shop foreman Vladimir Simonov, the production capacity is to be further increased.

The facility is currently 78 fuel assemblies ahead of schedule. “At present, 32,000 assemblies are left of the initial 36,000, because 4,000 fuel assemblies have already been move out to MCC,” Simonov specified.

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