Unit two of the Russian Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant II, equipped with the VVER-1200 reactor, was brought to Minimum Control Power (MCP), Russia's state atomic energy corporation, Rosatom, confirmed in a statement on Monday.
A MCP level is reached when the neutron flux is recorded in a reactor working at a level sufficient to sustain a fission chain reaction.
"Reaching MCP is considered as the final stage of the physical start-up procedure," Rosatom explained.
Every stage has occurred on schedule and in compliance with all safety regulations. In due course, specialists will conduct a set of physical experiments on the neutronic characteristics of the reactor’s first fuel charge, as well as confirm the operational reliability of the reactor’s entire monitoring and safety systems.
"The physical start-up will be completed at Unit 2, following these experiments," the company said and listed the following steps that will be taken.
- The power unit will then be prepared for power start-up and connection to the grid - both planned for the end of 2019.
- The launch of the reactor will bring the share of nuclear in the Central Russia’s electricity grid to 27 percent, preventing over 4 million tonnes of green gas house (GHG) emissions every year while boosting the region’s economy.
The VVER-1200 is the flagship of Rosatom’s Generation III+ PWR-type reactor and the world’s only Generation III+ design in series construction. Unit No. 2 at the Novovoronezh-2 nuclear power plant (NPP) will be the third in the series following Unit No. 1 at the same NPP, launched in 2016, and Unit No. 1 at the Leningrad-2 NPP, launched in 2017.
The innovative Generation III+ power unit, equipped with the VVER-1200 reactor, has a number of economic and safety advantages when compared to the previous generation, the VVER-1000.
"It is 20 percent more powerful; the amount of personnel operating the reactor has decreased to between 30 and 40 percent; and the lifetime of the reactor has doubled to 60 years, with the possibility of lasting an additional 20 years," Rosatom stated.
By Gulsen Cagatay