Testing of the hermetic enclosure system of the reactor containment building has been completed at unit 4 of the Rostov nuclear power plant in Russia. The VVER-1000/V-320 reactor is scheduled for start-up this year.
The Rostov plant is located on the banks of the Tsimlyansk reservoir, nearly 14 km (8 miles) from the city of Volgodonsk. Four 1000 MWe VVER pressurized water reactors have been planned at the Rostov site since the early 1980s. Construction of units 1 and 2 began promptly, but progress faltered. Units 1 and 2 eventually entered commercial operation in March 2001 and October 2010, respectively. Unit 3 was connected to the grid in December 2014, while the reactor pressure vessel was installed at unit 4 in December 2015.
The plant's operator, a subsidiary of Rosenergoatom, said it had completed the work together with the Rostov branch of JSC Atomtekhenergo. A sealed enclosure is a passive safety feature of nuclear power reactors designed to prevent the release of radioactive substances, it said. This serves as a physical barrier, it added, to the spread of radioactive materials and ionizing radiation.
Oleg Vysotsky, head of the reactor department for stage two of the Rostov nuclear power plant project, said this "complex technological operation" involved an internal pressure greater than 4.6 kg per square metre. "It's an important measure in ensuring environmental safety in the area adjacent to the nuclear power plant," he added.
The next stage in preparing the unit for commissioning will be cold and hot tests, which will take place this month.