At Novovoronezh NPP-2, the Russia’s third reactor of the innovative power unit of generation 3+ was set to work

On March 22, 2019 at 22:01 (MSK) the innovative power unit’s No.2 reactor system along with the VVER-1200 of the Novovoronezh NPP-2 (the branch of Rosenergoatom JSC, a part of the Rosatom State Corporation Electric Power Division, general designer – SC Atomenergoproject, general contractor - JSC EC "ASE, the engineering division of the Rosatom State Corporation) was raised to the minimum controllable power level.

For the first time, a neutron flux corresponding to the minimum controllable power level was recorded in the power unit’s No. 2 reactor of the Novovoronezh NPP-2 (power unit No. 7 of the Novovoronezh NPP) operating at a power sufficient to control the fission chain reaction.

Thus, the Russia’s third reactor of the innovative power unit of generation 3+ was set to work. The first similar power unit No. 1 of the Novovoronezh NPP-2 (No. 6 of the Novovoronezh NPP) was launched in 2016; the second one was launched at the Leningrad NPP-2 in 2017.

Reactor power raising is one of the final operations that leads to the further tests at the stage of the power unit’s No. 2 (of the Novovoronezh NPP-2) physical launch, which was set to work on February, 19 of the current year in exact accordance with the schedule. Readiness for it was confirmed the day before by Rostekhnadzor, whose administration monitors the work at each stage of the project constructing.

Vladimir Povarov, Director of the Novovoronezh NPP said to that point: “Our team prepared the power unit No.2 of the Novovoronezh NPP-2 to power raising due to the schedule. Quality and timeliness of all planned works helped us to perform this operation.”

In the near future, in accordance with the physical launch program, the specialists will measure actual reactor neutronics to confirm compliance with design parameters and correct functioning of the reactor CPS. These observations will make it possible to refine neutronics of the first fuel column obtained in calculating. They will also confirm the reliability of the protection, interlocks and the entire system of nuclear physical control and nuclear safety of the reactor system.

Simultaneously with the performing all the necessary operations on physical launch, the specialists will continue carrying out the scheduled preparation for testing at the subsequent stages of start-up operations; that is about power start-up and the putting the power unit into pilot operation. Putting into operation is scheduled for the end of 2019; after that the Novovoronezh NPP will replenish the regional budget by more than 1 billion rubles as a property tax in 2020.

It’s worth reminding that in comparison with other power units of the previous generation (VVER-1000), the power unit of generation 3+ with the VVER-1200 has a plenty of advantages that significantly increase its economic features and safety level. Reactor system’s power has increased by 20%, the number of the power plant attendants has been reduced by 30-40%. Design lifetime of the main equipment is doubled and it is 60 years now with the possibility of extension for another 20 years.

Today, this technology has been chosen by such countries as Finland, Hungary, Bangladesh, Belarus, etc. In total, Rosatom's international order portfolio contains 36 VVER units in 12 countries.


The innovative 3+ generation power blocks boast higher technical and economic performance and cater for absolute operational safety. They take advantage of the latest innovations and development achievements. The main feature of a VVER-1200 reactor is a unique combination of active and passive safety systems that make an NPP as resilient against any external and internal impact as possible. What’s typical for the passive safety systems is that they can run even if the electric supply is off and if there is no operator. The VVER-1200 power blocks use the following facilities: a ‘melt trap’ – a device that localizes a core melt in a reactor; an afterheat removal passive system designed to facilitate long-term thermal discharge from the reactor core in case all electric power supply sources are down, etc.

Novovoronezh NPP is a branch of Rosenergoatom JSC (a part of the largest Division of Rosatom State Corporation – Electric Power Division). The Plant is situated on the River Don bank 42 km South of Voronezh. This is the first NPP of Russia with VVER type reactors (Water-Water Power Reactors of containment type with water under pressure). Three reactors of the Plant are the main ones – the prototypes of the serial power reactors. The first power unit was commissioned in 1964, the second one - in 1969, the third one – in 1971, the fourth one – in 1972, and the fifth one – in 1980.

The power units No 1 and No 2 were shut down in 1984 and 1990, respectively. The power unit No 3 was shut down in 2016 for the decommissioning events. The power unit No 4 was shut down for modernization works. The power unit No 1 of Novovoronezh NPP-2 was commissioned on 27 February, 2017. The power unit No 2 is in the stage of commissioning works.

The latest information about radiation situation near Russian NPPS and other nuclear power facilities can be seen at www.russianatom.ru

Back to the list