The delivery of dummy fuel assemblies (TVS simulators) for unit 2 of Russia’s Leningrad II nuclear plant is underway, nuclear utility Rosenergoatom (part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom) reported on 19 June.
Already 83 of the 163 dummy fuel assemblies have been placed in storage at the site and are undergoing inspection. The remaining assemblies will be delivered in June-July and will be ready for loading into the reactor in the third quarter of 2019.
Vitaly Annual, head of the nuclear materials accounting and control department at the Nuclear Safety and Reliability Department of Leningrad II said the dummies had been used for a similar operation about three years ago at Leningrad II-1. They had also been used at two units of the Novovoronezh II nuclear plant. After each use, the simulators are sent to the Elektrogorsk Research Centre for NPP Safety, where they undergo chemical cleaning to remove surface contamination, visual and instrumental monitoring and re-examination.
Repeated use does not cause any damage to simulators, he said, and after the procedures they have been carried out, they can continue to be used during pre-commissioning works until a licence is received to load nuclear fuel into the reactor. The TVS simulators replicate the design of standard fuel assemblies in size, weight and structural materials but without nuclear fuel. They are designed to simulate the geometry of the reactor core and confirm the hydraulic characteristics of the reactor when the reactor is cold-hot tested and they are also necessary for the development of transport and technological operations using the reloading machine.
Leningrad II (LNPP II) unit 2 is a Generation III+ VVER-1200 nuclear unit with a net design power capacity of 1085MW and a gross capacity of 1199MW. Construction began in April 2010.
Leningrad II is a reference for a number of Rosatom’s international projects, including the Belarusian NPP, the Paks-2 NPP (Hungary) , the El-Dabaa NPP (Egypt), the Hanhikivi-1 NPP (Finland). Construction of the unit 2 reactor building is on schedule with more than half of the walls and floors of the outer protective sheath reinforced and concreted, the plant said. To date, almost 2500 cubic metres of concrete and 1200 tons of reinforcement have been laid. Pavel Ivanov, leading engineer of the building control department at the LNPP II capital construction management said special attention was paid to the quality of the building materials used.
Leningrad II will replace the existing Leningrad NPP which hosts four ageing 1000MWe RBMK units. Leningrad 1 was withdrawn from service in December 2018 after 45 years of operation, once Leningrad II-1 had been commissioned.
Photo: Dummy fuel assemblies arriving at Leningrad II (Photo: Rosenergoatom)