Russia’s Leningrad II unit 1 nears commissioning

9 August 2018

Unit 1 of Russia’s Leningrad II NPP on 8 August began the final 15 days of tests, during which it will be brought to full power. The integrated testing should confirm the stable operation of the main and auxiliary equipment and automatic process control systems, according to Leningrad II chief engineer Alexander Belyaev. "Over the past four months, during the pilot production phase, we have completed several hundred interim tests of the systems and equipment of the new unit with a gradual increase in its capacity,” he said. Comprehensive testing should prove that the new nuclear will work reliably, effectively, sustainably “and, most importantly, it is safe”.

State nuclear corporation Rosatom will then apply to regulator Rostechnadzor for approval to begin commercial operation, which is expected this autumn. Already, the VVER-1200 unit has supplied more than 1.8GWh of electricity to northwest region’s grid. The Generation 3+ VVER-1200 combines active and passive safety systems including a "melt trap" to localise any melting of the core in the event of an accident, a system of passive heat removal through steam generators which can provide long-term diversion of heat from the core in the event of a loss of power.

Leningrad NPP was the first NPP in Russia to have RBMK-1000 reactors (thermal-neutron channel-type uranium-graphite nuclear reactors). The four RBMKs are now nearing the end of their design life and will be replaced with VVER-1200 reactors at Leningrad II. Construction of unit 2 at the new station is underway. Installation of the main equipment for the turbine of Leningrad II 2 has been completed. The stator, separators, superheaters, deaerator, turbine condensers, high and low-pressure heaters and heat exchangers have all been installed, Rosatom said on 7 August. The shaft of the turbine has been aligned and three bridge cranes have been successfully operated.

Work will now start on insulation, low-current and electrical installation works as well as the laying of external and internal engineering networks. In total, 71 technological systems will be housed in the turbine building of the unit. Alexander Chebotarev, head of construction at the plant, said that personnel are making use of experience gained at unit 1 “not only to keep to schedule, but in some areas even to shorten the time required”.

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