The process to load all 163 fuel assemblies is expected to be completed by the end of this month. The reactor is scheduled to achieve first criticality in early 2018 and to be commissioned later next year.
Petrov noted that the beginning of operations on the physical start-up of the reactor means that all construction work related to unit 1 has been completed. "All overload systems are now working in automatic mode, full availability to perform these operations is provided in conformity with all safety requirements," he said. "Within 30 days, the reactor facility will be ready to reach the minimum controlled power level. We will conduct all the necessary experiments and launch operations at the reactor facility in accordance with the phased program. The next step is the power start-up, which will begin next year."
The existing Leningrad plant site, in Sosnovy Bor in western Russia, has four operating RMBK-1000 units, while Leningrad II will have four VVER-1200 units.
Pereguda said: "The new power units of Leningrad II provide a solution to the most important task for the entire region, namely the replacement of the existing capacities of the Leningrad plant. The first unit with the RBMK reactor is planned to be stopped as early as next year, in 2018. Therefore, for the Leningrad region, the synchronisation of the processes of commissioning and decommissioning of units is a vital process ensuring energy and economic stability".
Commissioning of Leningrad II-1 will mean that Russia has two VVER-1200 units in operation, following the launch last year, and the start of commercial operation in February, of Novovoronezh II-1.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News