The Leningrad NPP-2: liquid release over the open reactor completed at the 2nd VVER-1200 power block

The liquid release over the open reactor has been successfully completed at the innovative 2nd VVER-1200 power block of the Leningrad NPP-2: the team has rinsed the pressurizer’s surge line, the pipelines for four emergency core cooling system’s accumulators, and the protective safety system’s pipelines. Liquid release over the open reactor is the first one in a set of equipment and technological systems trials held at the power block following the completion of the major construction and installation activities.

According to Alexander Belyaev, the chief engineer at the Leningrad NPP-2, the verification of the pipelines connecting the reactor facility’s major equipment and the safety systems’ pipelines related to the primary circuit has been fully completed, and the liquid release operation has confirmed that the pipelines are properly assembled, passable, and clean.

The team of the Leningrad NPP has a lot coming, including a few major operations at the pre-commissioning stage: the reactor building’s double containment trials, cold and hot trials, verification of the reactor facility’s primary equipment. After proving that all power block’s system are completed properly and can operate as designed, in a reliable and safe fashion, the team will start uploading fresh nuclear fuel in 2020, thus starting the physical launch of the Leningrad NPP 2nd VVER-1200 power block.


Compared to the traditional VVER-1000 power blocks, the project for the 3+ generation Leningrad NPP power block has a number of advantages that considerably increase its economic parameters and safety standards. The capacity of the nuclear facility has been increased by 20%, from 1000 to 1200 megawatt; the designed life span of the core equipment has doubled and is now 60 years. In addition to that, this power block complies with the top international standards with regard to nuclear security. The Leningrad NPP-2 project serves as a reference for several international projects by the Rosatom State Corporation, such as the Belarusian NPP, the Paksh-2 NPP, the El Dabaa NPP, the Hanhikivi-1 NPP, etc.

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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