RMBK-1000 NPU No. 2 shut down after 45 years of successful operation, a new VVER-1200 NPU put into operation instead

On November 10, 2020 at 00:31 Moscow time, RMBK-1000 NPU No. 2 at the Leningrad NPP was shut down after 45 years of successful operation.

The reactor was shut down in accordance with the operating procedure, the NPU was disconnected from the Russian power grid, accepted as is.

In accordance with the requirements of federal rules and regulations, the shutdown power unit is considered to be “in operation without generation” until the moment of complete removal of nuclear fuel, which should be completed in approximately 4 years. A unit decommissioning project will be prepared during this time, presenting all relevant technological solutions.

“As is the case with unit No. 1, which was shut down in December 2018, unit No. 2 will be operated on a regular basis. In fact, the procedures performed do not to all intents and purposes differ from ordinary repairs,” – Director at Leningrad NPP Vladimir Pereguda said. – “Our task now is also to reliably and safely service the shutdown units, to unload nuclear fuel from the reactors, to prepare them for transfer to the dedicated "Experimental Demonstration Engineering Center" (RBMK EDEC) enterprise.”

“The change of generations is perfectly implemented at the Leningrad NPP. By the time of the shutdown of power unit No. 2 of LNPP, pilot operation of a new gen 3+ innovative VVER-1200 power unit of increased power had already begun. Replacement of retired capacities will be invisible to electricity consumers,” – Director General at JSC Rosenergoatom Andrey Petrov noted.

Compared to RBMK power units, the new VVER-1200 power units that are being commissioned have several advantages: they are 20% more powerful, and the service life of their irreplaceable equipment is doubled and amounts to 60 years.

The Leningrad NPP is the largest electricity producer in the Northwestern Federal District of Russia. The share of the Leningrad NPP in the energy generation for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region in recent years has been more than 56%. After the commissioning of two new VVER-1200 units, this figure is predicted to rise to 60-62%.


The Leningrad NPP is the first nuclear power plant with RBMK-1000 reactors (uranium-graphite nuclear reactors of the channel type on thermal neutrons). The decision to build it was made in September 1966.

The design service life of RBMK-1000 initially made up 30 years, but after a large-scale program of inspections, justifications, modernization, the service life of each of the four units of the Leningrad NPP was extended by another 15 years. The modernization has affected more than 90% of the systems and equipment of RBMK-1000 power units. Nowadays they fully comply with international requirements for power units being constructed, in terms of safety.

  • On May 14, 1974, the graphite stacking of power unit No. 2 was started.
  • On June 26, 1974, the installation of technological channels of power unit No. 2 was started.
  • On April 23, 1975, the first main circulation pump was turned on in the multiple forced circulation circuit of unit No 2. The main starting-up and adjustment works have begun.
  • On May 6, 1975 at 12:00, the physical start-up of the reactor of power unit No. 2 was carried out.
  • On July 11, 1975, power unit No. 2 with turbine generator No. 3 was put under industrial load for complex testing, and power start-up of power unit No. 2 with RBMK-1000 reactor took place.
  • November 11, 1975 is the date of commissioning of power unit No. 2.
  • On February 16, 1976, unit No. 2 was brought to its design capacity.
  • On January 17, 1977, the first refueling was carried out by the filling and discharging machine at the operating reactor of power unit No. 2.
  • In April 1996, new uranium-erbium fuel was used for the first time at unit No. 2 of the Leningrad NPP.
  • From the power-on event, power unit No. 2 of the Leningrad NPP produced 277.572 billion kWh. For comparison, this is more than the combined output of all Russian nuclear power plants in 2019.

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