Physical start up has been achieved at unit 2 of Russia’s  Novovoronezh II nuclear plant. This involves two main stages: loading the nuclear fuel into the reactor and bringing the reactor to a minimum controlled power level, which took place on 22 March.

Vladimir Kazansky, deputy chief engineer for construction of the new units said: “On March 27, 2019, we completed a set of tests and measurements of the neutron-physical characteristics of the reactor as part of the physical start-up programme. This means that the stage of the physical start-up of the new power unit is complete.” Commissioning of unit 2 is scheduled for 2020.

Novovoronezh NPP is a branch of nuclear utility Rosenergoatom (part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom). The general designer of the plant is Atomenergoproekt and general contractor is ASE (both part of Rosatom).

Novovoronezh II-2 has a VVER-1200 generation III+ reactor, which has a number of economic and safety advantages over the previous generation VVER-1000. It is 20% more powerful; requires fewer operating personnel; and its operating lifetime is twice as long, at 60 years, with the possibility for extension by an additional 20 years. Novovoronezh II-2 is the third VVER-1200 to start up following Novovoronezh II-1, which began commercial operation in 2016, and Leningrad II-1, which began commercial operation in October 2018.

Photo: Physical start-up was achieved at Novovoronezh II-2 in March (Credit: Rosenergoatom)