Leningrad NPP-2: the newest 3+ generation power unit No 1 with VVER-1200 reactor is brought to a minimum controllable power

On 6 February, 2018, the reactor unit of the new super power 3+ generation unit No 1 of Leningrad NPP-2 (a part of Rosatom Electric Energy Division) was brought to a minimum controllable power (MCP, less than 1%). A controlled fission chain reaction began in the reactor; and the neutron flux monitoring equipment recorded the reactor’s stable neutron power. The MCP is one of the final physical start-up operations at the power unit No 1.

Commenting on the event, Andrey Petrov, the Director General of Rosenergoatom Concern, noted, “Putting the MCP is the final link in the whole chain of operations conducted at the physical start-up of a power unit. It was made on 8 December, 2017. The high-quality and timely execution of all the planned works allowed us to bring the reactor to a critical state in a safe and timely manner.”

In his turn, the Manager of Leningrad NPP, Vladimir Pereguda, said, “It is symbolic that Leningrad NPP started this year with a great achievement – it produced a record 1 trillion kWh of electric energy for domestic nuclear power plants. The Leningrad NPP team prepared the power unit No 1 for MCP on scheduled time. And now, before our very eyes, the most powerful Leningrad power unit was born. And it will overperform this achievement.”

In accordance with the program of physical launch, next week the specialists will conduct a number of physical experiments, also at less than 1% of operating capacity. These studies will make it possible to refine the neutron-physical characteristics of the reactor’s first fuel loading, and also confirm the reliability of the protection, interlocks and the reactor unit’s entire system of nuclear-physical control and nuclear safety.

After the experiments, the physical start-up program for the VVER-1200 power unit No 1 will be completed. The specialists will begin preparations for power start-up and pilot operation. During these final stages, all the equipment of the power unit will undergo a final check when working at operating parameters, generating electric and thermal energy.

In accordance with the directive schedule, the LNPP-2 1st unit power start-up and pilot operation start are planned for this spring.

It is to be recalled that the innovative, most powerful to date power units with VVER-1200 reactors (pressurised water reactors) built at Leningrad NPP-2 belong to the newest 3+ generation type of units. They use the most advanced achievements and developments that meet all post-Fukushima requirements. Such units are unique and have no analogues in the world. The first similar unit was launched at the end of 2016 at Novovoronezh NPP-2 in Novovoronezh. In comparison with traditional power units of the same type, the VVER-1200 has a number of advantages that significantly increase its economic characteristics and safety. The main feature of the VVER-1200 project is a unique combination of active and passive safety systems that make the Plant as stable as possible to external and internal influences. In particular, the unit with VVER-1200 reactor uses a “melt trap” – a device serving to locate the melt of the nuclear reactor core, a system of passive heat removal through the steam generators (SPHR), designed to provide long-term diversion of heat from the reactor’s core to the atmosphere in the absence of any source of electric energy, etc.

Leningrad NPP is a branch of Rosenergoatom Concern JSC. The Plant is located at the town of Sosnovy Bor, 40 km west of St. Petersburg on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. LNPP is the first plant in the country with RBMK-1000 reactors (thermal-neutron heat-pipe cooled uranium-graphite nuclear reactors). The NPP operates four power units with an electric capacity of 1,000 MW each. The first unit of replacement capacities with VVER-1200 reactor is at the physical start-up stage, the second VVER-1200 type unit is under construction. Rosenergoatom Concern JSC is the customer-developer of the project, ATOMPROEKT JSC is the general designer, and CONTSERN TITAN-2 JSC is the general contractor. 

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