Russia's Novovoronezh 6 operating at full power

27 October 2016

Unit 1 of the Novovoronezh II nuclear power plant is now operating at full power. Russia's first VVER-1200 reactor was connected to the grid on 4 August and Rosatom announced the latest milestone today, following its new director general's working visit to the plant yesterday.

Novovoronezh-II 1 and 2 - 460 (Rosenergoatom)
Novovoronezh units 6 and 7 (Image: Rosenergoatom)

Also known as Novovoronezh 6, the unit is a VVER 1200/392M pressurised water reactor (PWR) unit with a design net capacity of 1114 MWe. It is the first of two such units at Novovoronezh II - the lead project for the deployment of the AES-2006 design incorporating a Gidropress-designed PWR, an evolutionary development from the VVER-1000.

Likhachov, formerly deputy minister of economic development and trade, took over from Rosatom director general Sergey Kirienko earlier this month after Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Kirienko as first deputy head of the Presidential Administration with immediate effect. Kirienko had been in charge of Rosatom since December 2007.

In today's statement, Rosatom said Likhachov had told local reporters it was "not accidental" that the Novovoronezh plant was chosen for his first official visit to a Russian nuclear facility. Unit 6 is particularly important for Rosatom, he said, because it is the world's first 'Generation III+' design to be launched and because it will serve as a reference point for VVER-1200 projects in several other countries, with whom the corporation has construction contracts.

The design of unit 6 features "improved technical and economic indicators that ensure absolute safety during operation and fully comply with the IAEA's post-Fukushima requirements," Rosatom said. The "main feature" of the technology is the use of additional passive safety systems that do not require the intervention of nuclear power plant personnel, it added. "Unique and globally unparalleled systems have been applied, including passive heat removal from the reactor, hydrogen recombiners and a core catcher," it said.

Construction of Novovoronezh II units 1 and 2 - or Novovoronezh units 6 and 7 - began in June 2008 and July 2009, respectively. In June, Rosatom announced installation of the outer shell of the containment building dome at Novovoronezh 7. The dome, which was installed in November 2014, forms part of the unit's double-walled containment structure - a major component for protecting the reactor and preventing the release of radioactive materials into the environment in the event of a serious accident. It is a key feature of the AES-2006 design.

The original Novovoronezh site nearby already hosts three operating reactors and two that are being decommissioned.

Representatives of Rosenergoatom, Rosatom's nuclear power plant operator subsidiary, informed Likhachov that the Novovoronezh plant had already reached 108% of its planned generation output for this year. Likhachov was also familiarized with progress of the units being decommissioned as well as upgrade work taking place at unit 5.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News