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Unit 2 of the Novovoronezh II nuclear power plant in southwest Russia has been brought to minimum controlled power level, Rosenergoatom, the operator subsidiary of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, announced today. The milestone, which was completed on 22 March, marks the final stage in the physical start-up of the VVER-1200 reactor.

Novovoronezh II personnel gather for physical startup of unit 2 (Image: Rosatom)

Novovoronezh II-2 will be the third VVER-1200 to be commissioned, following Novovoronezh II-1 and Leningrad II-1, which were launched in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The minimum controlled power level is reached when neutron flux is recorded in a reactor working at a level sufficient to sustain a fission chain reaction.

"Every stage has occurred on schedule and in compliance with all the safety regulations,” Rosenergoatom said. “In due course, specialists will conduct a set of physical experiments on the neutronic characteristics of the reactor's first fuel charge, as well as confirm the operational reliability of the reactor's entire monitoring and safety systems. The physical start-up will be completed at unit 2, following these experiments."

The power unit will then be prepared for power start-up and connection to the grid - both planned for the end of this year. The launch of the reactor will bring the share of nuclear in Central Russia's electricity grid to 27% - thus avoiding the emission of more than four million tonnes of greenhouse gases that would otherwise have been produced from the burning of fossil fuels, the company said.

Rosatom describes the VVER-1200 as a Generation III+ power unit, which has a number of economic and safety advantages when compared to the previous generation (VVER-1000). It is 20% more powerful; requires 30-40% fewer operator personnel; and its operating period is twice as long, at 60 years, with the possibility of extension by an additional 20 years.

Rosatom has VVER-1200 construction projects in Bangladesh, Belarus, China, Finland and Hungary.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Monday, 25 March 2019
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