Ceremony marks Novovoronezh II progress

22 January 2009

Celebrations have been held to mark the completion of the base plate for the first unit at Russia's Novovoronezh phase II nuclear power plant, as constructors prepare to pour concrete for the second unit.


The completion of work on the base plate for the first unit at the new plant, the start of a new wave of nuclear construction in Russia, was marked with an official ceremony attended by local dignitaries. The 3 metre thick reinforced concrete plate took six months to pour and will bear the full load of the nuclear reactor. Over 17,000 tonnes of concrete and 2,500 tonnes of reinforcement went into the plate. At the ceremony, a local priest blessed the base plate, a Novovoronezh tradition - the third, fourth and fifth units of the nearby Novovoronezh I power station were similarly sanctified during their construction.


Novovoronezh blessing (Image: Rosatom)
Bless this reactor: Completion of base plate celebrated

As for the second unit at the new power station, 300 tonnes of armature has been mounted on the base plate and preparations are being made for concrete pouring to begin.

AtomEnergoProekt will be spending 32 billion roubles (just under $1 billion) on Novovoronezh II in 2009, of which 9 billion roubles ($276 million) will be spent on construction and installation, with the rest going towards the purchase of equipment, according to AtomEnergoProekt chief engineer Sergey Andruschenko. Vladimir Povarov, acting director of Novovoronezh NPP, said that the project was being financed by the government and dismissed as groundless reports that work might be stopped because of the global financial crisis.

Novovoronezh II is the lead project for the deployment of the AES-2006 reactor design incorporating a third-generation Russian-designed pressurised water reactor, an evolutionary development from the well-proven VVER-1000. The first two units are scheduled for operation in 2012 and 2013. According to Russian plans Novovoronezh II will ultimately be home to four of the 1200 MWe units, although construction dates for the third and fourth units have not yet been announced. Work is also under way on the first of two AES-2006 units at phase II of the Leningrad nuclear power station, and AtomEnergoProekt has also been contracted to design third and fourth units for that site.


Novovoronezh construction site (Image: Rosatom)

Novovoronezh II unit 1. In the background, Novovoronezh I
(Image: Rosatom)

Russian plans approved in February 2008 see up to 42 new nuclear power plants starting up by 2020. This total includes some plants where construction work is already far advanced, and also includes the world's first floating nuclear power plant, the Akademik Lomonosov, plus a BN-800 fast breeder reactor.
The nearby Novonoronezh I site is home to three operating reactors and two that are being decommissioned. Two of the operating units, units 3 and 4, have received 15-year license extensions which will enable them to operate until 2016 and 2017. Unit 5 is formally due to close in 2010, although it is expected that a license extension will be granted to extend its life as well. The new reactors being built at the phase II plant are expected to have service lives of 50-60 years.

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