Russia plans early reactor construction

08 February 2007

Russia's plans for a huge expansion of nuclear energy have begun totake shape with announcements of plans for new reactors at Novovoronezhand Leningrad II. A new reactor design is at the heart of the plans.

Various anouncements have put flesh on the bones of plans announced by Sergei Kiriyenko, head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) in April 2006.

It is expected that the first construction projects in plans to increase nuclear capacity from the current 21,743 MWe to about 44,000 by 2020 will consist of new AES-2006 model pressurised water reactors at Novovoronezh and Leningrad II. These first units would be built at a cost of about $3.0-3.7 billion per pair.

Leningrad II would eventually boast four of the units, while there would be two at Novovoronezh. $95 million in funding is allocated to begin work at Novovoronezh this year in the aim that first concrete would be poured March in 2008 with first power coming the two reactors in late 2012 and 2013 respectively. Plans for Leningrad II would see the four units enter opertion between 2012 and 2020.

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.