Leningrad Phase II Progress Report

Russian nuclear power giant Rostatom has announced progress on both Leningrad Phase II Units 1 and 2 recently, noting successful safety tests on Unit 1 and a significant concrete pour for the Unit 2 reactor building.

Leningrad Phase IIUnit 1 reached a minimum level of controlled power on Feb. 6. Rosatom also said that the passive heat removal system (PHRS) that utilizes the steam generators to remove residual heat and cool the reactor core for Unit 1 had been successfully tested.

The system is intended to work “in beyond design basis accidents that cause electricity cut-offs or a total loss of feedwater,” said Head of Reactor Department at Leningrad II Vitaly Shutikov.

“The system is unique for its ability to operate independently. It is designed to ensure sustainable removal of residual heat from the reactor core through three of four independent channels for at least 24 hours,” Shutikov said.

All four loop channels for the unit have passed quality testing, he said.

The same system is in place at Kudankulam in India and Novovoronezh II in Russia. The same system will also be installed at the Akkuyu power plant in Turkey.

The PHRS tests were carried out as part of the hot functional tests meant to ensure that core equipment are functioning as designed. Hot testing is the last major step before the start up of the unit. “The tests have proved that the system is fully operational and capable of removing residual heat and cooling the reactor core in case of a total blackout at the plant,” said shift supervisor in the Reactor Department Alexander Nakonechny.

Rosatom also announced the completion of Unit 2 reactor building interior concreting this week, which will allow for completion of the double-shell exterior this year.

In addition, “completion of the concreting of the internal structures of the reactor compartment will make it possible to complete the lining of the holding pool and carry out its hydraulic tests,” said Deputy Head of the Rector Department Alexey Mochalov.

The 180 cubic meter concrete pour for the containment structure provided support of 80 cm to 120 cm in thickness, said the World Nuclear Association.

The project deployed “very heavy concrete, which absorbs radiation well, protects nuclear power plant personnel and can be operated for a long period under high radiation-thermal loads,” said Pavel Ivanov, head engineer of the Construction Control Department.

Leningrad Phase II is scheduled to include four VVER-1200 reactors. Unit 1 was the second VVER-1200 unit to begin operations, after Novovoronezh Unit 6, which began operations in 2016. Leningrad Phase II Unit 1 is expected to enter commercial status soon.

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