Hot tests are underway at the forthcoming new reactor of Kalinin nuclear power plant, about 200 kilometres northwest of Moscow.
Dummy fuel has been loaded into the now-complete nuclear power plant while tests of main plant systems are carried out at operational temperatures and pressures. This is an important phase in early commissioning that makes certain coolant circuits and nuclear safety systems are functioning properly before nuclear fuel is loaded. The tests began on 14 August marking the official end of the construction phase.
Kalinin 4 has had a long gestation period, having been approved under the Soviet system in 1985. Construction began in August 1986 but stalled in 1991 while the plant was only 20% complete. The project then spent a decade on hold before resurrection efforts succeeded in bringing a return to full construction in late 2007. This was then accelerated somewhat by the use of pre-existing heavy components that had been intended for Bulgaria's Belene project.
Kalinin 4 is a V-320 model VVER-1000 pressurized water reactor - the same as unit 3, also approved in 1985 but built slowly to start in 2004. Units 1 and 2 at the site are V-338 model VVER-1000s constructed in the early 1980s.
The reactor is being constructed by Nizhny Novgorod-based Atomenergoproekt for plant owner Rosenergoatom. It is slated to begin commercial operation in October and take Russia's nuclear generation capacity to over 24,000 MWe.