Russia has started hot and cold testing of unit 1 of the Novovoronezh Phase II nuclear power plant. Cold testing will include tests on the functioning of the four main circulation pumps and all supporting systems. This will be followed by hot testing, which includes heating up the reactor coolant to its operational temperature. In addition, full testing of the reactor’s safety systems will be carried out, followed by a final revision of the main reactor equipment before first fuel loading can take place. First criticality is scheduled for the end of 2015.

Novovoronezh II is the lead project for the deployment of Russia’s AES-2006 NPP design incorporating a Gidropress-designed pressurised water reactor, an evolutionary development from the VVER-1000. Unit 1 is a 1114MWe Generation III+ VVER 1200/392M pressurised water reactor unit. Construction of units 1 began in June 2008 followed by unit 2 in July 2009. Novovoronezh II is adjacent to the original Novovoronezh site, which hosts three operating reactors and two being decommissioned.

Security has been stepped up at the site in advance of fuel loading, according to united company NIAEP-ASE-AEP (principal contractor). Internal troops have taken on the responsibility for guarding the Novovoronezh II facilities. Enlisting the support of military personnel to "close the perimeter" of a nuclear power plant construction site is normal practice ahead of fuel loading, Rosatom’s engineering subsidiary NIAEP said. The security complex includes the facility perimeter with checkpoints, as well as central command posts of the army guard force and security staff.

Progress is also continuing at Rostov 4 where pressure tests of the steam generator have been completed. During the tests at a specially fitted section, cleaned water was heated in the water treatment section and was supplied to the primary and secondary circuits of the steam generator via special pipes. The steam generator metal was gradually heated to around 85°С after which the steam generator loops were gradually pressurized, and temperature and pressure were measured by installed thermocouples and pressure gages. Pressure was then reduced to the operational level and a visual examination of welds and seals of the steam generator was carried out. Vacuum tests of the steam generator and Eddy current inspection of heat exchange tubes and header cofferdams of the steam generator will follow. Start-up of Rostov 4 is scheduled for 2017.

Russian state nuclear power corporation Rosatom has also begun assembling the crew for the world’s first floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) Akademik Lomonosov. Preparation of the crew will begin with a team of 17 people, who will be directly responsible for the operation of the nuclear reactors and will undergo theoretical and practical training. The full FNPP crew will comprise 78 members.

The 21,000t vessel, now being built at the Baltijskiy Zavod, will have two Russian-designed KLT-40S reactor units with a generating capacity of 35MWe each. It is scheduled to become operational in September 2016. It is to be based at Pevek in the northeast Chukotka Autonomous District where it will replace the ageing Bilibino NPP and Chaun thermal plant. Rosenergoatom called for bids to begin work on the necessary infrastructure in June. A federal budget a subsidy of RUB5bn ($92m) will be used to build on-shore and hydraulic infrastructure facilities to host the FNPP in Pevek.

A second FNPP unit will be built ready for commissioning in 2030, according to Sergei Zavyalov, Director of the directorate for the construction and operation of FNPPS at nuclear utility Rosenergoatom. This will be necessary to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electricity and heat for the region when the Akademik Lomonsov is undergoing its first refuelling and maintenance.

It is assumed that the second unit will be built more quickly and at less cost. "Construction time should be reduced by 40%," Zavyalo said.