Construction starts at second Novovoronezh-II unit

14 July 2009

First concrete has been poured at the second unit of Russia's Novovoronezh phase II nuclear power plant. The foundation plate of its twin, unit 1, has already been completed.


Novovoronezh-II-2 first concrete

Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko prepares to help get construction started at Novovoronezh II unit 2 (Image: Rosatom)

Representatives from Russia's nuclear power industry and local dignitaries attended the ceremony on 12 July to mark the official start of construction of the second of four units to be built at the plant, adjacent to the existing Novovoronezh I plant.


Ivan Kamenskikh, deputy director general of the Rosatom state nuclear company, said that the start of construction of the second unit of the plant marks the beginning of serial construction of nuclear power plants in Russia. He said, "We have now passed from individual projects to serial construction. This approach is much more economical." Kamenskikh added, "Presently, we are implementing six construction projects. This systematic approach stimulates the development of the companies producing equipment of prolonged manufacturing cycle, particularly reactor systems." This will allow them to effectively plan their activities and to supply their products on time, he said.


The three-metre-thick reinforced concrete foundation plate for Novovoronezh II unit 2 - which will bear the full load of the nuclear reactor - is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Over 17,000 tonnes of concrete and 2500 tonnes of reinforcement will be used in its construction. Last month, a fully automated and computerised concrete plant was launched at Novovoronezh II with a capacity to produce 60 cubic metres of concrete per hour. It incorporates a certified laboratory and storage for inert materials, with an inventory sufficient for ten days' production at design capacity. The plant can operate in winter at temperatures down to -30˚C.


The first concrete for the foundation plate of Novovoronezh II unit 1 was poured on 24 June 2008 with a ceremony in January marking its completion. Work at that unit is progressing with the reinforcement of the walls of the main and auxiliary reactor buildings and preparations for the concreting of the foundations of the turbine building. Work is also under way to reinforce the walls of the reserve diesel plants and for the foundation plate of the fresh fuel storage facility.


Novovoronezh II is the lead project for the deployment of the AES-2006 reactor design incorporating a third-generation Russian-designed pressurised water reactor, an evolutionary development from the well-proven VVER-1000. Novovoronezh II units 1 and 2 are pencilled in to start up in 2012 and 2013, while dates are yet to be set for units 3 and 4. The cost of constructing units 1 and 2, which will produce 2136 MWe, has been put at about $5 billion.


The original Novovoronezh site nearby already hosts three operating reactors and two that are being decommissioned. Two of the operating units, units 3 and 4, have received 15-year license extensions which will enable them to operate until 2016 and 2017. Unit 5 is formally due to close in 2010, although it is expected that a license extension will be granted to extend its life as well. The new reactors being built at the phase II plant are expected to have service lives of 50-60 years.


Gone fission... 

Whilst work to construct the new Novovoronezh II plant progresses, a fishing competition sponsored by AtomEnergoProm has been held in the cooling pond of the Novovoronezh I plant.


Novovoronezh fishing contest (Rosenergoatom)
Members of the victorius Mach fishing team (Image: Rosenergoatom)

Over 70 anglers and 15 teams from across Russia took part in the tournament. The Mach team from Moscow won the team contest, followed by the Maver team, also from Moscow, with the team from the Voronezh region in third place. Members of the Mach team also took first, second and third place in the individuals contest.


The cooling pond is a source of process water for unit 5 of the Novovoronezh I plant. The environmental protection department of the plant has regularly stocked the pond with silver and grass carp over the past 15 years. Some 33 tonnes of carp have been released into the pond over the past four years. The carp eat the water plants and shellfish which flourish in the warm waters of the pond.


Rosenergoatom said that monitoring of the water and the fish by the plant's external radiation control laboratory showed that the plant had no adverse impact on its cooling pond.