The Leningrad NPP: the second power block with VVER-1200 reactor is getting ready for the reactor’s controlled assembly

One of the reactor’s elements has been delivered into the assembly zone of the Leningrad NPP’s 2nd power block with VVER-1200 reactor under construction – the upper unit head that weighs over 100 tons has been placed in one of the inspection shafts. Upon the delivery of all other reactor elements (the protective tube unit, the in-vessel core barrel and the partition) the specialists will complete the controlled assembly.

According to Alexey Mochalov, the deputy head of the Leningrad NPP-2 reactor shop, the assembly of all structures within the reactor is supposed to verify the top-notch quality of production and its compliance with the technical requirements. The controlled assembly is the first one in a series of operations with this equipment. The reactor will be disassembled prior to the liquid release over the open reactor. This is required to simulate the configuration of its core and to complete the hydraulic tests.

‘The reactor assembly is an important step, which requires lots of expertise from the installation engineers and special working conditions, specifically, the arrangement of a so-called ‘clear zone’ to avoid the installed equipment being polluted with dust, oils, moist and other impurities. The ‘clear zone’ will shortly be arranged at the central hall of the reactor vessel. We plan to start the reactor assembly late March’, Alexey Mochalov summed up.

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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