Construction starts at Baltic plant

27 February 2012

The first concrete has been poured for the foundation of the twin-unit Baltic nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad, marking the official start of construction of the first reactor there.

RosEnergoAtom announced that on 24 February some 1800 cubic metres of concrete was poured into the foundation slab of the nuclear island building by the general contractor Nizhny Novgorod-based Atomenergoproekt and its subcontractor JSC Northern Construction Management. The pouring of first concrete means that the first Baltic unit becomes the ninth power reactor under construction in Europe.

Baltic NPP (Rosatom)
How the Baltic plant could look on completion (Image: Rosatom)

The chief engineer of RosEnergoAtom's Baltic power plant construction division, Alexander Chebotarev, said that the quality of each batch of concrete is being checked by an onsite certification laboratory. He noted that measures have been taken to create the necessary conditions for laying concrete during the winter weather. Chebotarev said that a special heat gun is being used underneath an awning erected over the foundation in order to raise the temperature to above 15°C whilst protecting the concrete from rain. "All phases of work went smoothly, all in normal mode," he said.

The twin VVER-1200 Baltic project is situated in Kaliningrad, an exclave of the Russian Federation that sits between the EU states of Poland and Lithuania. It is a stand-out project for Russia: the first to be opened to investment by European utilities; the first intended to export most of its output; and the first to use Western components such as an Alstom-Atomenergomash steam turbine.

The plant will be majority owned by RosEnergoAtom, with 49% available to private investment. Talks have so far been held with CEZ, EDF, Enel and Iberdrola and late last year Switzerland-based utility Alpiq agreed with Russian grid operator Inter RAO UES to explore possibilities for a transmission link of up to 800 MWe from Kaliningrad to Germany.

RosEnergoAtom said that the construction of the plant has now entered into "an intensive phase." Commercial operation of the first reactor is slated for 2017, with the second following one year later.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News