Leningrad II-2 fitted with dummy assemblies ahead of March fuel loading
A full set of dummy fuel assemblies has been loaded into unit 2 of the Leningrad II nuclear power plant under construction in western Russia. The equipment, which replicates the design of standard fuel assemblies by the weight, size and materials of which they are made, but without nuclear fuel, is "extremely important" during the pre-commissioning phase, Rosatom said today.
Leningrad II in Sosnovy Bor (Image: Rosatom)
“In loading the simulators [dummy assemblies] into the reactor, we've performed two tasks: we've worked out the transport and technological operations to transfer such important equipment from a special storage facility to the reactor building; and we've demonstrated the reliable operation and accuracy of the loading machine,” Alexander Belyaev, chief engineer of Leningrad II, said in the company statement.
“We ‘rehearsed’ the beginning of physical start-up when fuel assemblies with fresh nuclear fuel are loaded into the reactor core. In accordance with the schedule, this key event will begin in March 2020,” he added.
The dummy fuel assemblies, which will be in the reactor vessel until the beginning of next year, are necessary to confirm the geometry of the reactor core, to circulate the primary circuit and for a hot run the unit, Rosatom said.
Leningrad II unit 1 was connected to the grid on 9 March 2018, becoming the second VVER-1200 reactor to start up, following the launch in 2016 of Novovoronezh unit 6. Concreting of the inner containment structure of unit 2 was completed in February.
The existing Leningrad plant site in Sosnovy Bor has four RBMK-1000 units, while Leningrad II will have four VVER-1200 units. Leningrad unit 1 was shut down for decommissioning on 21 December last year.