Leningrad 2 defuelling begins

05 October 2021

Rosenergoatom has begun unloading used fuel from the Leningrad 2 reactor in Russia. Partially used fuel assemblies will be used in units 3 and 4 at the plant during their final years of operation.

An operator at Leningrad 2 during defuelling (Image: Rosenergoatom)

Leningrad 2 is a 1000 MWe RBMK unit that started up in 1975. It was permanently shut down in November 2020 and its output has already been replaced by new VVER-1200 units at the adjacent Leningrad II power plant.

The process to remove all the 1685 fuel assemblies from Leningrad 2's core will take until some time in 2023, Rosenergoatom said. The fuel assemblies are being transferred to pool storage near the reactor. Assemblies which still have more than 50% of their nuclear fuel 'burn-up' available will be used in units 3 and 4, which are slated to operate until 2025 and 2026, respectively. This will save on the purchase of 1000 fresh fuel assemblies, said the plant's deputy chief engineer, Igor Lozhnikov.

The same operation was completed for the first shut down reactor at Leningrad in August. Similarly, its partly used assemblies will be used in units 3 and 4, saving the purchase of around 500 fresh assemblies.

The removal of all nuclear fuel from a reactor is a significant step in the decommissioning of a reactor unit.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News