Nuclear industry news


Milestones at new Russian reactors

Construction of new nuclear power plants in Russia is advancing, with Kalinin 4 entering trial commercial operation and completion of the installation of the dome of the containment building at Novovoronezh Phase II unit 1.


Unit 4 at the Kalinin plant (Image: Rosatom)

Following the successful completion on 27 April of the last of 74 tests in its start-up program, Kalinin 4 has now moved to the final stage of its commissioning program, trial commercial operation. A start-up management team led by Mikhail Kanyshev, director of the Kalinin plant, has examined a record issued by a working committee on the completion of work in the energy start-up phase and the preparedness of the reactor to enter trial commercial operation. The team concluded on 9 May that it is appropriate "to consider unit 4 as accepted for pilot operation, and to start conducting work in accordance with the staged program." This decision was supported by the findings of an inspection of the reactor by Russia's Federal Service for Ecological Technological and Nuclear Supervision (Rostekhnadzor).
During trial commercial operation, Kalinin 4's capacity will gradually be increased to its full rated thermal power of 3200 MW, producing 1000 MW of electricity for the grid, during which a series of tests will be conducted to confirm the design parameters of the unit's reliability and safety. Once these tests are completed, the reactor will subjected to a commissioning test, during which it will be run at full power for 72 hours. The unit is scheduled to begin full commercial operation on 30 September 2012.
Kalinin 4 - constructed by Nizhny Novgorod-based Atomenergoproekt (AEP) - has had a long gestation period, having been approved under the Soviet system in 1985. Construction began in August 1986 but stalled in 1991 while the plant was only 20% complete. The project then spent a decade on hold before a return to full construction began in late 2007. This was then accelerated somewhat by the use of pre-existing heavy components that had originally been intended for the then stalled Belene project in Bulgaria. Fuel was loaded into the reactor in October 2011 and first criticality was achieved the following month.
Kalinin 4 is a 950 MWe V-320 model VVER-1000 - the same as unit 3, which was approved in 1985 and eventually completed in 2004. Units 1 and 2 at the site are V-338 model VVER-1000s which began commercial operation in 1985 and 1987, respectively. The Kalinin plant is situated in the western Tver region near the town of Udomlya.
Novovoronezh dome
AEP announced that installation of the dome of the containment building of Novovoronezh II unit 1 has now been completed. The metallic dome has been assembled and installed in stages. The final section was raised and placed upon the top of the structure on 11 May. Over the next month, work will be carried out to weld the sections of the dome together.


Completing the containment dome at unit 1 of Novovoronezh II (Image: AEP)

Completion of the containment dome now allows work to progress on installing the main reactor island equipment, such as the reactor pressure vessel, steam generators and main circulation pipework.
The dome forms part of the unit's double-walled containment structure - a major component for protecting the reactor and preventing the release of radioactive materials into the environment in the event of a serious accident.
Two AES-2006 VVER-1200 pressurized water reactors are being built as the second phase of the Novovoronezh site in western Russia. Construction of unit 1 began in June 2008. The reactors are scheduled to begin operating in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
Source: WNN