Russia’s Leningrad NPP announced on 10 August that the last fuel assembly had been removed from the unit 1 reactor that was closed in December 2018. “Fuel assemblies (FAs) from all 1693 fuel channels of the reactor have been unloaded. Thus, one of the important stages of preparation for its decommissioning has been completed,” the plant said.
The fuel was discharged into special near-reactor ponds after being held for one year in the reactor. Then it will be transferred to the station's used nuclear fuel storage. The completion of the work is scheduled for the end of 2023. Fuel that was burned less than half of the design depth will be used in the reactors still operating at units 3 and 4 of the Leningrad NPP. This, according to the director of the Leningrad NPP, Vladimir Pereguda, has significant economic advantages. “Implementation of the technology for afterburning the remaining nuclear fuel will save on the purchase of about 500 fresh fuel assemblies and reduce the same amount of used fuel assemblies that are expensive for further handling,” he noted.
Leningrad 1 was shut down after 45 years of operationand all its systems are being prepared for decommissioning. In general, preparation for decommissioning a power unit takes about five years.
In November 2020, also after 45 years of operation, unit 2 was also shut down for subsequent decommissioning. The two units, with RBMK reactors were replaced with two new VVER-1200 generation 3+ power units. A similar replacement strategy is planned for units 3 and 4.