Senior Russian nuclear power plant engineers and journalists have visited a site near the village of Pyatidvorka Roslaviskoye that has been earmarked for the second Smolensk nuclear power plant.
Three potential sites have been under consideration for Smolensk II, but engineering surveys have shown Pyatidvorka to be the preferred option, Smolensk NPP chief engineer Alexander Vassiliev told journalists. The site is 6km from the existing three-unit Smolensk I nuclear power plant. Vassiliev said that "preparations" for construction had already begun.
Smolensk II will be home to four VVER units under a regional planning scheme approved by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in November 2013. Licensing activities are already under way, and first concrete is planned for unit 1 in 2017, with the unit becoming operational in 2022. The second Smolensk II unit is expected to start operation in 2024.
Smolensk I's three RBMK reactors should remain in operation until the new plant starts to come online under a RUR45 billion ($1.5 billion) modernisation program announced in 2012. Extensive refurbishment work has already been completed at unit 1, which received a ten-year licence extension in 2012 and is now licensed to operate until the end of 2022. Similar work is expected to be completed at unit 2 in 2015, followed by upgrading of the more modern unit 3.