At the power unit No 2 of Novovoronezh NPP-2 the loading of the fuel assembly imitators has started. According to the technology, before loading the reactor core with the nuclear fuel it is required to check the systems. In order to do this, 163 steel imitators – of the same weight and size as the fuel assemblies (FA) – are to be loaded in the reactor. The difference between them is that the imitators have leaden tablets instead of uranium dioxide ones.
“We use them for testing of the basic hydraulic characteristics of the reactor core, the main circulating pumps and other reactor systems. They will be used during the hot and cold trial that will last for 21 days”, the leading engineer-physicist of the Nuclear Safety and Reliability Department of NV NPP Mikhail Zhuk explained.
It is to be noted that these are the imitators that were used two years ago at the innovative power unit No 1 of Novovoronezh NPP-2 with VVER-1200 reactor, then they were moved to the power unit No 1 of Leningrad NPP-2. Now they are brought to Novovoronezh again.
The Novovoronezh nuclear power plant is a branch of the Rosenergoatom. The station is located on the bank of the Don River in 42 km to the south of Voronezh. It is the Russia's first nuclear power plant with VVER reactors (water-to-water power reactors of case type with regular water under pressure). Each of five reactors of the station can be a main one – a prototype of serial power reactors: the power unit No. 1 with the VVER-210 reactor, the power unit No. 2 with the VVER-365 reactor, the No. 3, 4 power units with the VVER-440 reactors, the power unit No. 5 with the VVER-1000 reactor. The first power unit was launched in 1964, the second – in 1969, third – in 1971, fourth – 1972, fifth – 1980. There are three power units (power units No.1, 2 were stopped in 1984 and 1990 respectively) in work at the moment. The power units Nos 1 and 2 were stopped in 1984 and 1990, respectively. The power unit No 3 was stopped in 2016 for decommissioning activities. The power unit No 1 of Novovoronezh NPP-2 was commissioned on 27 February, 2017. The power unit No 2 of Novovoronezh NPP-2 is in the middle of construction and installation works; its commissioning is planned for 2018.