The highlight of the month: the reactor facility hot trial has begun at the Leningrad NPP 2nd VVER-1200 power block

The first key launch operation of 2020 has commenced: the team of the Leningrad NPP has started the reactor facility hot trial for the 2nd VVER-1200 power block. The most important complex tests prefacing the operational launch of a new power block are now in progress.

Alexander Belyaev, the chief engineer of the Leningrad NPP-2: ‘This stage of works will last until the middle of March. During that time, we are to conduct several dozens of tests for the primary circuit equipment – the reactor, the steam generators, the main circulating pumps, the main coolant pipeline, etc. We will also perform trials for the safety systems, adjust the circuits’ water chemistry conditions, verify the auxiliary power supply system and the reactor protection and management systems. Our intention is to cover as many trials and tests as possible under various pre-conditions’.

The goal of a hot trial is to confirm that the primary and the secondary equipment of the reactor facility, its technological and safety systems have been property assembled and fully adjusted. ‘The trial has to verify that all systems are ready for functioning and can be operated in a safe, reliable and environment-friendly manner for the next 60 years as stipulated in the design’, Mr. Belyaev added.

All tests will run at the operating values of pressure and temperature, that said, the team will almost fully emulate the normal operation mode of the power block. It is important to note that these works are considered to be nuclear-safe: instead of real assemblies with fresh fuel, dummy assemblies will be used. In other words, the hot trial procedure at the Leningrad NPP will run without any steam production, turbine rotation or delivering electric power into the grid.

The physical launch of the Leningrad NPP’s 2nd VVER-1200 power block is scheduled for Q2 2020, which will be followed by a pilot operation and connection to the grid. The power block’s operational launch will take place early 2021.

The Leningrad NPP is the largest electric power producer at the North West. It accounts for 30^ of the total electric output. The four Leningrad NPP power blocks power every second light bulb in Saint Petersburg and the Leningrad region.

The Leningrad NPP is an affiliate of the Rosenergoatom Joint-Stock Company and is located in the city of Sosnovy Bor, 40 km west from Saint-Petersburg, at the shore of the Gulf of Finland. The Leningrad NPP is the largest one in Russia with regard to the installed capacity (4,200 megawatt) and is the only one featuring two reactor types: it runs three RBMK-1000 reactors (uranium-graphite channel-type reactors on thermal neutrons with the capacity of 1,000 megawatt) and one 3+ generation VVER-1200 reactor (pressurized water-type reactor with the electric capacity of 1,200 megawatt). The country’s first RMBK-1000 power block was stopped for proper shutdown on December 21,2018. The construction of the 2nd VVER-1200 power block is in progress. The owner and developer of the Leningrad NPP’s replacement capacity construction project is the Rosenergoatom Joint-Stock Company. AO ATOMPROJEKT is the general designer, while the AO TITAN-2 JOINT-STOCK Company is the general contractor.

At the moment, the Leningrad NPP is the largest electric power producer in the North-West of the country. Its share in the total electric power output is almost 30%. Every second light bulb in Saint-Petersburg and the Leningrad region is powered by the four power blocks of the Leningrad NPP. Additionally, the electric power produced at the Leningrad NPP fosters sustainable social and industrial development of the region and helps the country develop its energy security program.

Compared to the traditional VVER-1000 power blocks, the new Leningrad NPP 3+ generation VVER-1200 power blocks have a number of benefits that significantly increase their economic indicators and safety. For example, the electric capacity of the reactor facility has been increased by 20%, from 1,000 to 1,200 megawatt. The main equipment’s life span has doubled from 30 to 60 years. Besides, the power block complies with the most challenging international standards with regard to nuclear safety.

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