Russian ministry agrees to postponement of new reactors

27 May 2015

Russia's ministry of economic development has approvedĀ the postponement of the commissioning of new power plants, its deputy minister, Nikolai Podguzov, announced yesterday.

The ministry estimates that "a very significant" delay to the start-up of the nuclear power units is being made, Podguzov said, according to the TASS news agency, but all the relevant federal executive bodies have agreed with Rosatom's decision to postpone commissioning. "These units are simply not needed at the moment thanks to a current energy surplus," he said.

At the end of April, Rosatom first deputy director general for operations management, Alexander Lokshin, said that the corporation has postponed by one year the target dates for commissioning the first and second units of Leningrad Phase II, and for the second unit of Novovoronezh Phase II. In early May, Rosenergoatom chief Yevgeny Romanov also said that Rosatom had postponed by five years the construction of Smolensk Phase II.

Leningrad Phase II is a new nuclear power plant adjacent to the existing Leningrad nuclear plant site. Two 1200 MWe AES-2006 design units are being built there, with two further AES-2006 units planned. First criticality of unit 1 was scheduled for the end of 2015, while start-up of unit 2 was planned for 2017. The existing Leningrad nuclear power plant is to be withdrawn from service, which is expected in 2018. Startup of units 3 and 4 of the new plant was planned for 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Leningrad II is the second of Russia's new AES-2006 nuclear power plants using VVER-1200 reactors. The first is Novovoronezh II, which employs a slightly different reactor model of the VVER-1200 from Leningrad II. The first unit at the plant, construction of which began in 2008, had originally been planned to start up in 2012. Construction of the second unit began a year later, with a planned start-up date of 2013, although this was subsequently revised to 2015.

Construction of Novovoronezh II units 1 and 2, also known as Novovoronezh units 6 and 7, began in June 2008 and July 2009, respectively. The original Novovoronezh site nearby already hosts three operating reactors and two that are being decommissioned.

The reactor pressure vessel was installed at unit 2 of Novovoronezh II in March this year. The unit is scheduled to start commercial operation in February 2018. Preparations for first criticality started at unit 1 in February.

Smolensk Phase II, which will consist of two to four VVER-1200 reactors, is to replace the three RBMK reactors at the site. First concrete was planned for unit 1 in 2017, with the unit becoming operational in 2022. The second Smolensk II unit was expected to start operations in 2024. Extensive refurbishment work has already been completed at unit 1, which received a ten-year licence extension in 2012 and is now licensed to operate until the end of 2022. Similar work is expected to be completed at unit 2 in 2015, followed by upgrading of the more modern unit 3.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News