New units at Novovoronezh

18 June 2007

Main contractor AtomEnergoProject has begun construction of two new nuclear power units at Novovoronezh Phase 2.

The contract for the new-build project was signed on 14 June. The Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) said that 130 billion roubles ($5 billion) of public funds would be budgeted for the plant.

Construction began on 20 June, with concrete poured at a ceremony attended by first deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov and Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom).

Novovoronezh Phase 2 would host two AES-92 design VVER pressurized water reactors (PWRs) of around 1000 MWe each and be located near to the existing Novovoronezh plant, which itself has five PWRs. Currently, Novovoronezh 4 and 5 are operating; unit 3 is undergoing refuelling, turbine and steam generator maintenance; and units 1 and 2 are being decommissioned. Units 6 and 7 were planned but never came into being.

The new reactors are slated for completion in 2012 and 2013, according to Rosatom. They will be the first in the Russian state's plan to increase nuclear power to provide 25% of electricity by 2030, up from 17% now.
The other lead project in the program is Leningrad Phase 2, which would also see two reactors constructed simultaneously. Contract announcements on that are expected in coming weeks.

Officials currently plan for two reactors come online each year between 2011 and 2014 and then three per year from then until 2020. To those ends Russian authorities hope to gradually increase the speed of batch-produced AES-92 model plants until they can be built in three years from first concrete to operation. The nuclear industry benchmark figure is five years.

The program as a whole is expected to cost $55 billion, with $26 of that coming from the public purse. Russia would hope to recoup some of those funds through exporting more natural gas, which would be in less demand due to higher domestic nuclear capacity, and the export of the standardised nuclear reactors.

Further information

Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom)

WNA's Nuclear Power in Russia information paper