Construction starts at Leningrad II

27 October 2008

First concrete has been poured for the first new reactor at the second phase of the Leningrad nuclear power plant (Leningrad II) in Russia. Four new units are expected to begin operating at the plant by 2018.

Leningrad II - first concrete 
A ceremony marks the start of construction of Leningrad II (Image: AtomEnergoProekt)
The Leningrad plant is currently home to four operating 1000 MWe RBMK reactors, all of which are nearing the end of their operating lives. A construction contract for Leningrad Phase II was signed with St Petersburg-based AtomEnergoProekt in August 2007 and site licences granted the following month. AtomEnergoProekt signed a 136 billion rouble ($5.8 billion) state contract in March 2008 for the construction of first two new units at Leningrad II.

On 25 October, AtomEnergoProekt began pouring the concrete for the foundation plate of the reactor building of the first of the two new units at the Leningrad plant. The 1170 MWe reactor, of the new AES-2006 model pressurised water reactor (PWR) design, is scheduled for commissioning in October 2013 and the second a year later. Two further AES-2006 units are under construction at the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant, with first power scheduled in late 2012 and 2013, respectively. These first AES-2006 units are expected to be built at a cost of some $3.0-3.7 billion per pair. Leningrad II would eventually boast four AES-2006 reactors.

Leningrad II is quoted as the reference plant for further units at Tianwan in China, which already hosts two earlier V-320 versions of the VVER-1000 reactor, which began operating in 2007.

Rated at 1200 MWe, the AES-2006 is an advanced reactor with a 50-year design life. It should operate at a thermal efficiency of almost 35% and maintain a 90% lifetime capacity factor. Rosatom have said that it would withstand an earthquake rated at 7 on the Richter scale and a direct impact from a large aircraft.