The Leningrad NPP-2: the main goal for 2019 is to carry out liquid release over the open reactor of the second VVER-1200 power block

Completing the installation of the production systems, applying the voltage for its own needs, launching the water treatment plant, facilitating the preparation of the automatic process control system – these are the ambitious plans for those taking part in the construction of the 2nd VVER-1200 power block of the Leningrad NPP in 2019.

All of those are required to get ready for a major operation – the liquid release of the production systems over the open reactor, during which the passing ability of the pipes connecting the primary coolant equipment of the reactor facility needs to be verified.

Vladimir Pereguda, the director of the Leningrad NPP, noted: ‘This year, we need to complete all system installations at the second power block; next year is allocated for all scheduled pre-commissioning activities, and the power block needs to be launched operational in March 2021. There’s a lot of work to be done, and it’s pretty challenging. The time lines are even more aggressive than for the first power block. We need to improve the efficiency of cooperation between all members of the construction team to make sure we launch the second power block timely according to the governmental order’.

As of now, most of the activities are carried out within the reactor building: all in all, more than 300 tons of pipes need to be installed, and over 8000 abuts need to be welded. The management of the Leningrad NPP has extremely strict requirements towards the quality of those pipes, since they will have to deal with high loads during the power block operation. All abuts are verified by different means of non-destructive testing.

‘The main stage of the construction and installation activities at the VVER-1200 power block is nearing completion. The liquid release operation will give its way to a set of individual production system and equipment trials. All upcoming tests will have to verify that the production and the installation were completed to the highest standards’, Alexander Belyaev, the chief engineer of the Leningrad NPP-2, said.

The completion of the reactor building erection, the confinement trials, and the start of the reactor facility’s cold and hot trials will be among other important activities held at the 2nd VVER-1200 power block construction site in 2019.

The Leningrad NPP is the country’s first plant with RBMK-1000 reactors (uranium-graphite circuit-type reactor running on thermal neutrons). The decision that marked its construction was taken in September 1966 by a resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR and the Council of Ministers No. 800-252. According to that document, the Leningrad NPP was supposed to become a core in a network of nuclear power plants with RBMK-1000 reactors that were supposed to produce a substantial share of electric power. The construction of the Leningrad NPP was going well, and by 1973 the first power block was fully erected. On December 23, 1973, following stable 72-hours’ operation at the capacity of 150 megawatt, the State Commission signed the acceptance certificate stating that the first power block of the Leningrad nuclear power plant is commissioned for pilot production.

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