Experts from the Moscow Centre of the World Association of Nuclear Power Plant Operators (WANO-MTs) on 11 August completed a pre-start peer review of the VVER-1200 at unit 6 of the Leningrad NPP.
During the inspection, a team of international experts checked the operational, fire and emergency readiness of the power unit, as well as the level of safety culture among the NPP personnel. All these areas are of great importance in ensuring the reliability and safety of a nuclear facility throughout the entire period of its operation, and especially at the stage when the enterprise switches from construction to operation. They are an additional tool in increasing the safety of the plant.
Hossein Ghaffari, Head of the Representative Office of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran in the Russian Federation noted: “This is a prelaunch check, and our task is to help the personnel of the Leningrad NPP to better prepare for this important event. As an industry advisor, I took part in a by-pass at the block control room, in the turbine engine room, and before that, my colleagues checked the equipment and facilities that are of prime importance for the start-up of the power unit. The results of these checks confirm that the unit is ready to begin full-scale commissioning operations. The state of the documentation and the level of personnel training here is quite high, and the project of the Leningrad NPP confirms that the increased safety requirements that are now imposed on the power units under construction have been fully implemented here."
Commissioning of unit 6, which is proceeding in stages, began on 19 July with a physical start-up, when the first fuel assembly with fresh nuclear fuel was loaded into the reactor vessel. At the subsequent stages, during the power start-up, pilot operation and comprehensive testing of the power unit, all systems will undergo a final check. Commercial operation is scheduled for 2021. The new unit will replace unit 2 unit of the Leningrad plant - an RBMK-1000 reactor was put into operation 45 years ago.
The original Leningrad plant site in Sosnovy Bor has four RBMK-1000 units, which will be replaced by Leningrad II with four VVER-1200 units. Leningrad unit 1 was shut down for decommissioning in December 2018 after Leningrad II unit 1 was connected to the grid on in March 2018. It was the second VVER-1200 reactor to start up, following the launch in 2016 of Novovoronezh unit 6.