Russia’s Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Atomic Supervision (Rostechnadzor) has granted a licence to nuclear utility Rosenergoatom for the construction of unit 2 at the Kursk Phase 2 NPP (Kursk II). Licensing was preceded by comprehensive review of documents supporting nuclear and radiation safety, evaluating the facility’s organizational and technical compliance with the licence requirements, and additional geological surveys and calculations confirming that the planned VVER-TOI reactor design meets Russian standards. Rosenergoatom was previously granted a site licence for two units at Kursk II and a construction licence for unit 1. Approval from the Rosatom state nuclear corporation should follow within 10 days.

Kursk II is a top priority for both the Rosenergoatom Concern and Rosatom. So far this year more than RUB2bn ($31.7m) of capital investment has been spent on preliminary work at the site involving 20 contracting companies with 705 employees. More than half the work on the excavation pit for unit 1 had been completed and the first support facilities have been commissioned and are operational. These include the road bridge across the river Seim and the road to the site near the village Kozhlya for the excavated soil. Work is also underway on construction of shops for blasting, sewage treatment plants, a 330/10 kW electrical substation, access roads to the railway bridge, utilities and others facilities.

The new plant, with two VVER-TOI units, will replace the currently operating Kursk NPP’s four units which are approaching the end of their design life. Commercial operation is planned for 2020 and 2021. The operational launch of new units will be synchronized with closure of the existing units. Rosatom is the owner and the technical customer for the project and JSC NIAEP is the general designer and general contractor.

VVER-TOI (a VVER-1300 pressurised water reactor) is an optimised and computerised Generation III+ design, developed from the 1,200MWe AES-2006 reactor project. Rosenergoatom has been granted a construction licence for unit 2 of the Kursk II nuclear power plant in central Russia. Regulator Rostechnadzor issued a construction licence for unit 1 in June. Kursk II will replace four units at the existing Kursk plant and will consist of two VVER-TOI (typical optimised, with enhanced information) units that are to start operations in 2020 and 2021. Atomenergoproekt announced the VVER-TOI design in 2010. This design has an upgraded pressure vessel, increased power to 3300 MWt and 1255-1300 MWe gross (nominally 1300), improved core design to increase cooling reliability, further development of passive safety with 72-hour grace period requiring no operator intervention after shutdown, lower construction and operating costs, and 40-month construction time.