Vladimir Pereguda, the director of the Leningrad NPP, told about the way the first power block of the RBMK-1000 would be taken out of service

On December 13-14, a meeting of the Rosatom Public Council that puts an emphasis on public relations in terms of nuclear power objects being taken out of service, took place at the Leningrad nuclear power plant. The members of the Rosatom Public Council, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, environment protection specialists, the Leningrad NPP top management, and representatives of the Sosnovy Bor city administration took part in the meeting.

The first power block is going to be stopped on December 22, 2018, following its 45 years of safe operation. ‘We are full ready to stop it, - said Vladimir Pereguda, the director of the Leningrad NPP. – We have reached our goal with the VVER-1200 power block being commissioned for commercial operation timely, which is an innovative 3+ generation power block with increased capacity of 1200 megawatt. Speaking of the first power block of the RBMK-1000, Rosatom has made a decision to dismantle it immediately. It means that we do not leave this problem for the future generations, we try to address it right here, right now’.

During his speech to the Public Council, Vladimir Pereguda has presented a detailed report on the final shutdown of the first RBMK power block and the new nuclear power competencies that will be introduced at the plant. ‘The last stage of any nuclear object lifecycle has started. At first, we will move into the ‘non-generation operation’ mode. For the next 5 years, we will be discharging nuclear fuel from the reactor and handle the decontamination process. Afterwards, the shutdown stage per se shall begin’, the Leningrad NPP director stated.

The participants of the round table noted that the Leningrad NPP management is very transparent. ‘Rosatom does a lot to elaborate on its policy to the public, especially on the subject of safe handling of nuclear waste. This is not our first visit to the Leningrad NPP, and the communication here is open and credible’, Valery Vasiliev, a member of the Rosatom Public Council. – ‘Any concerns related to blocks operation, construction, and shutdown are discussed honestly. Even when environmental experts ask tough questions, they receive clear and concise answers’.

The participants have discussed a possibility of using the Leningrad NPP facilities for new production and an option of utilizing the irradiated graphite processing for scientific development. ‘The subject of irradiated graphite processing is extremely important for all NPPs all over the world. It has enormous scientific potential, and some companies in Russia can already boast experience in that area, for example, The Siberian Chemical Combine. However, one needs their own developments to build large RBMK-1000 reactors. This is a challenge for applied science, and we are open to cooperation with any interested parties’, Vladimir Pereguda stressed.

Alexander Nikitin, the CEO of the environment law center ‘Bellona’, said: ‘Shutdown is a very sensitive point, it’s very important to keep a public dialogue and to constantly demonstrate that everything is safe and under control. The report presented by the Leningrad NPP director was detailed and transparent. We will do our best to convey key ideas on the shutdown process to the public’.

On the second day of the trip, the Rosatom Public Council visited the reactor hall, the Leningrad NPP’s first power block control room and the site area for the new VVER-1200 power blocks.

Leningrad NPP is the branch of Rosenergoatom JSC. The plant is situated in Sosnovy Bor, 40 km west from St. Petersburg on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. LNPP is the country’s first power plant with RBMK-1000 reactors (uranium-graphite nuclear reactors of channel type with thermal neutrons).NPP operates 4 power units with electric power of 1.000 MW each. Also, the construction of replacement power is carried out. The first power unit with VVER-1200 reactor of Generation 3+ completed its 15-day complex testing successfully on 21 August, 2018. It is on the stage of inspection of the main equipment. The construction of power unit No 2 is in progress. The owner and developer of the construction project of Leningrad NPP replacement power is Rosenergoatom JSC; the General Designer of the project is ATOMPROEKT JSC, and the General Constructor is TITAN-2 JSC.

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