Hot testing has begun at unit 2 of Russia’s Leningrad II NPP, chief engineer Alexander Belyaev said on 5 February.

“The work at this stage will continue until mid-March. During this time, we will conduct dozens of tests of equipment of the primary circuit – the reactor, steam generators, main circulation pumps, the main circulation pipeline, etc," Belyaev said.

"Also we will test safety systems, carry out the adjustment of the water-chemical regime of the circuits, check the power supply systems of our own needs, control and protection systems the reactor,” he added.

The purpose of the hot testing is to confirm that the main and auxiliary reactor equipment and safety-related systems are functioning as they should . “Running-in should show that the systems are functional and will be operated safely, reliably and environmentally-friendly for the 60 years envisaged by the project,” Belyaev added.

All tests will take place at operational pressures and temperatures, but they are considered nuclear-safe as dummy fuel assemblies are being used rather than fresh nuclear fuel.

Consequently, the hot run-in will not involve steam generation, rotation of the turbine, or supply of electricity to the network.

The physical start-up of Leningrad II-2  is scheduled for the 2nd quarter of 2020. This will be followed by pilot-industrial operation. Leningrad II-2 is expected be put into commercial operation at the beginning of 2021.

Leningrad II-1 was connected to the grid in March 2018, becoming the second VVER-1200 reactor to start up, following the launch in 2016 of Novovoronezh 6.