The final stage of the physical launch for the newest VVER-1200 2th power block has been launched at Leningrad NPP-2 (a part of the electric power division of ROSATOM). This is the first time the nuclear facility has reached the minimum controllable power.
This means that the neutron flux control equipment has recorded stable neutron capacity, and the first self-sustained controlled nuclear reaction has commenced in the reactor core.
‘The minimum controllable power is the lowest capacity level that enables us to conduct a number of tests and to verify the physical parameters of the reactor core to make sure it complies with the project requirements. Once these operations are completed and the associated calculations are submitted to Rostekhnadzor, we will have to obtain a power start-up license and to start gradual power ramp-up’, Alexander Belyaev, the chief engineer at the Leningrad NPP-2, said.
During the week, over 50 tests will take place at the power unit in accordance with the physical launch schedule. Those reviews will help to specify the neutron-physical parameters of the nuclear reactor’s first fuel loading that were obtained by the calculations as well as to confirm that the safety, blocks and the whole nuclear-physical control and reactor facility’s nuclear safety systems are working in a reliable manner.
It is important to note that the commercial launch of the VVER-1200 6th power block takes place in stages and commenced on July 19, 2020, when the first fresh fuel assembly was loaded into the reactor core. At the next stages, during the power start-up, pilot production and comprehensive testing of the power unit, all release station equipment will undergo the final verification under all operating parameters, with the electric and heat power output.
The commercial launch of unit 2 of Leningrad NPP-2 is scheduled for 2021. The new power unit will take over its ‘elder brother’, the RBMK 2nd power block that had been effectively in use for 45 years.