Hot functional tests began at unit 1 of the Belarus nuclear power plant at Ostrovets on 11 December, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced.
Approval for the tests was granted by regulator Gosatomnadzor.
"We have entered the finish line of the preparation for the physical start-up of the power unit," said Vitaly Polyanin, vice president and director of the Belarusian project at AtomStroyExport. The Russian-supplied VVER-1200 reactor is scheduled to begin operating early next year.
During the tests, specialists will check the operability of the main equipment of the power unit for compliance with the requirements of the design documentation, including compliance with safety standards during operation. Fuel simulators will be used instead of genuine fuel.
Russia’s Atomstroyexport, the engineering division of Rosatom began loading the dummy fuel assemblies in April. The dummy assemblies exactly replicate the design of standard fuel assemblies but without fuel. “The next stage after the hot tests, in accordance with the plan for preparing the power unit for physical start-up, is an audit of the main and auxiliary equipment of the first and second power unit circuits,” said Polyanin.
Two VVER-1200 Russian pressurised water reactor units are under construction at Ostrovets, near the border with Lithuania. Construction of Ostrovets 1 began in November 2013 and of Ostrovets 2 in April 2014.
Photo: Belarus nuclear plant pictured in November (Credit: Belarusian NPP)