The licence for the construction of replacement capacity for Russia’s Kursk nuclear power plant (Kursk II) is expected in March or April 2016, said plant manager Vyacheslav Fedyukin.

Funding for the plant in 2016 will exceed RUB10bn ($140m). The total estimated cost of building the two units is put at RUB225bn. Also in 2016 Kursk II will cease to be a separate entity, and "will be part of the current station," he added.

Units 1 and 2 of Kursk II will have the new design VVER-TOI reactors and could be the reference plant for future nuclear power plant exports.. Pre-construction work is already underway at the construction site. Tentatively, unit 1 was scheduled for commissioning in 2021. However, in June Sergey Kiriyenko, director general of state nuclear corporation Rosatom said commissioning may be deferred until 2022.

Fedyukin said the turbines for the plant will be supplied by St Petersburg-based Power Machines, instead of Ukraine’s Kharkov-based Turboatom, which had previously been expected to supply the equipment. According to Rosatom, Power Machines will supply two 1255MWe low-speed turbine sets and auxiliary equipment systems, as well as two complete turbine generators with auxiliary equipment systems.

"I understand perfectly that the Kharkov turbine factory, which is closer to us, could perform this work, if Ukraine was willing to collaborate with us on this project," Fedyukin said. He added that, despite the political situation, Kursk NPP was continuing to supply power to the north and north-east of Ukraine under previous agreements. "We will continue to deleiver about 800MWe to Ukraine as per our agreements. In contrast to Ukraine, we are doing what we have pledged."

Meanwhile, the existing Kursk NPP, which operates four 1000MWe RBMK reactors, fulfilled its yearly target of electricity generation ahead of schedule and had generated 26.292TWh in 2015 by late November. The load factor of the Kursk units exceeded 84%. The nuclear plant was one of the winners of the All-Russia Contest of Implemented Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency Projects ENES-2015. Equipment at the plant has been extensively upgraded. Investments in upgrades and service life extension of the Kursk units exceeded RUB47.6bn, of which more than RUB8bn was used in 2014-2015.