Volgodonsk 2 'on the final straight'

06 May 2009

Hydro testing of the new reactor at Russia's Volgodonsk nuclear power plant is to start in two weeks. The unit is set to start up in October.


The reactor is a V-320 type VVER pressurized water reactor which will produce 1000 MWe. Its construction had been stalled for some time but was kick-started again in 2007 as part of a major Russian initiative to maximise domestic nuclear power production in order to maximise the value of gas reserves.


Rostov pressure vessel delivery
The reactor pressure vessel for Volgodonsk 2 during delivery
(Image: Mirnyatom)


Over 3000 people are currently working on the project, with that number having swelled by 1000 over the last month. The Volgodonsk nuclear power plant operation is managing the construction and its press department said work was going on around the clock, with some subcontractors delivering meals to the plant site.


Current activities include preparation for the washing-out of the water coolant lines as well as hydrostatic testing to confirm their integrity.


The Volgodonsk plant is sometimes known as Rostov after its region. Four 1000 MWe VVER pressurized water reactors were planned there in the early 1980s and some construction took place before work was stopped.


Valery Limarenko of main contractor Nizhniy Novgorod Atomenergo proekt said, "We are entering the final straight... The second unit of Rostov is the starting point of the large scale construction of new nuclear reactors in our country. "


Five other construction projects are ongoing in Russia: another V-320 unit at Kalinin 4, a BN-800 fast reactor at Beloyarsk 4, two KLT-40S marine units at a shipyard in Vilyuchinsk and new-wave VVER-1200 units at Novovoronezh Phase II unit 1 and Leningrad Phase II unit 1. Later this year work should start on VVER-1200s at Novovoronezh Phase II unit 2 and Volgodonsk 3.