Leningrad II-2 reaches minimum controlled power

01 September 2020

Unit 2 of the Leningrad II nuclear power plant in Western Russia has started the final stage of its physical launch by reaching the minimum controllable power level. This means that the neutron flux control equipment has recorded stable neutron capacity, and the first self-sustained controlled nuclear reaction has commenced in the reactor core.

Personnel at Leningrad II unit 2 (Image: Rosatom)

Announcing the milestone yesterday, Rosenergoatom, the operator subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, said the commercial launch of the sixth VVER-1200 had started on 19 July when the first fresh fuel assembly was loaded into the reactor core, and that its commercial launch was scheduled for 2021.

"Minimum controlled power is the lowest capacity level that enables us to conduct a number of tests and to verify the physical parameters of the reactor core to make sure it complies with the project requirements," Alexander Belyaev, the chief engineer at the Leningrad NPP-2, said. "Once these operations are completed and the associated calculations are submitted to [regulator] Rostechnadzor, we will have to obtain a power start-up licence and to start gradual power ramp-up."

During this week, over 50 tests will take place at the unit in accordance with the physical launch schedule. Those reviews will help to specify the neutron-physical parameters of the nuclear reactor’s first fuel loading and confirm that all the nuclear safety systems are working in a reliable manner.

The existing Leningrad plant site in Sosnovy Bor has four RBMK-1000 units, while Leningrad II will have four VVER-1200 units. Leningrad unit 1 was shut down for decommissioning on 21 December 2018. Leningrad II unit 1 was connected to the grid on 9 March 2018, becoming the second VVER-1200 reactor to start up, following the launch in 2016 of Novovoronezh unit 6.

Leningrad II-2 will replace its ‘elder brother’, Leningrad-2, an RBMK reactor that has been in operation for 45 years.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News