Leningrad NPP-2: at the innovative power unit No 1 the final stage of commissioning – experimental industrial operation – has been started

On 26 March, 2018, Leningrad NPP-2 (a branch of Rosenergoatom Concern, a part of Rosatom’s Electric Power Division) started the Experimental Industrial Pilot Operation stage at the innovative 3+ generation* power unit No 1 with the VVER-1200 reactor – the specialists have started a gradual power ascension in the reactor. The permission to begin the stage was issued by the Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service of the Russian Federation (Rostekhnadzor).

“We reached the final stage of commissioning of the power unit. Experimental Industrial Pilot Operation is a time-consuming and extremely responsible stage. It can be called the final push before the unit’s new life. Carrying out the checks and tests provided by the program, we will one more time confirm the compliance of the actual parameters and performance characteristics of the systems and equipment with design values, and we will make sure of their reliable and safe operation. Only after this, the new extra power Leningrad power unit will be put into commercial operation. We plan to do this by the end of this year”, Vladimir Pereguda, the Plant Manager of Leningrad NPP, said.

According to LNPP-2 Chief Engineer Aleksandr Belyaev, at the pilot operation stage the specialists will perform a large number of tests at 40, 50, 75, 90, and 100% of the reactor unit capacity.

“We will once again explore the neutronics of the core, study the reactor unit behaviour under various conditions, perform in-core control system tests, test the regime of complete de-energization of the unit, check the effectiveness of biological shielding, and the radiation situation at the NPP. The merit for the stage’s success will be the result of the 15-day acceptance tests (reliability run) of the power unit at 100% of the capacity. They must confirm that the unit’s equipment and technological systems work in full accordance with the project”, A. Belyaev said.

It is to be recalled that starting operations at the 3+ generation power unit No 1 with the VVER-1200 reactor of Leningrad NPP had begun on 8 December, 2017, when the first fuel assemblies with fresh nuclear fuel were loaded into the reactor core (the Physical Start-Up stage). On 6 February, 2018, the reactor unit was put into a minimum controllable power, launching a series of tests. On 15 February, 2018, the Physical Start-Up program for the 1st unit was completed in full. On 9 March, 2018, the stage of Energy Start-Up was completed at the unit.

According to preliminary estimates, after commissioning the power unit No 1 of Leningrad NPP-2 into commercial operation, the economic effect in the form of additional taxes to the Leningrad Oblast consolidated budget will amount to more than 3 billion rubles. (on an annualised basis).

* Innovative and most powerful power units with VVER-1200 water-water power reactors, built at Leningrad NPP-2, were developed by ATOMPROEKT JSC, Rosatom’s leading enterprise, which performs complex design of nuclear facilities, scientific research and development of nuclear energy technologies of the new generation. The power units designed by ATOMPROEKT belong to the newest generation of 3+. They use the most advanced achievements and developments that meet all post-Fukushima requirements. The main feature of the VVER-1200 project is a unique combination of active and passive safety systems that make the Plant as stable as possible to both external and internal influences. A distinctive feature of the passive systems is their ability to work in situations when there is no power or without operator involvement. In particular, the VVER-1200 unit uses the following: a melt trap – a device serving to localize the core melt; a system of passive heat removal through steam generators (SPOT), designed to ensure a long-term thermal discharge in the absence of any electricity source, etc.  In addition to unique security systems, the new Leningrad VVER-1200 power units have a number of other advantages over the operating units with RBMK reactors: they are 20% more powerful, and the lifespan of their non-replaceable equipment is doubled and is 60 years (which is 10 years longer than the service life of the NPP itself).

Key equipment for the LNPP-2 1st unit reactor facility was produced and supplied by an enterprise of Rosatom’s Engineering Division – Atomenergomash JSC. In particular, the main circulation pumps were produced by TsKBM JSC (St. Petersburg), a complete set of steam generators were made by ZiO-Podolsk PJSC (Moscow Oblast), a melt trap was produces by Atommash plant (Rostov Oblast), the equipment airlock and the core emergency cooling system were from Petrozavodskmash (Republic of Karelia), the automated radiation monitoring system and the subsystems of the automated process control system were made by SNIIP JSC (Moscow).

The nuclear fuel for the new power unit was produced and supplied by Rosatom’s fuel company TVEL and its factories. A unique nuclear fuel was developed for the 3+ generation power units with VVER-1200 reactors under the NPP-2006 project. This fuel has higher technical and economic results (permissible burnup to 70 MWd/kgU, 18-month fuel cycle operation, the ability of manoeuvre operation), and a high degree of operational reliability and safety. The fuel assemblies for the initial fuel loading into the reactor of the Leningrad NPP-2 first unit were manufactured by Elektrostal Machine-Building Plant PJSC (Elektrostal) and Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant PJSC (Novosibirsk).

Leningrad NPP is a branch of Rosenergoatom Concern JSC. The Plant is located at the town of Sosnovy Bor, 40 km west of St. Petersburg on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. LNPP is the first plant in the country with RBMK-1000 reactors (thermal-neutron heat-pipe cooled uranium-graphite nuclear reactors). The NPP operates four power units with an electric capacity of 1,000 MW each. The first unit of replacement capacities with VVER-1200 reactor is at the physical start-up stage, the second VVER-1200 type unit is under construction. Rosenergoatom Concern JSC is the customer-developer of the project, ATOMPROEKT JSC is the general designer, and CONTSERN TITAN-2 JSC is the general contractor. 

For all the years of operation Leningrad NPP has never had a single serious incident. The Plant remains the largest electric energy producer in the Russian North-West. Its share is 27% of the total generation. At the same time, LNPP covers more than 50% of the energy consumption of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Oblast, which increase the industrial and economic potential from year to year. In 2017, the share of Leningrad NPP in the regional volume of electric energy generation was 44.8%; its share in the real volume of consumer supply was 53.88%.

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