On the 6th February 2018, the new superpower Unit 1 of Generation III+ with a VVER-1200 reactor at Leningrad II (part of the Power Division of ROSATOM) was brought up to the minimum controlled power (MCP).
Commenting on the event, General Director of Rosenergoatom Andrei Petrov said: “Achievement of MCP is the final link in the operation chain of the first criticality program of the unit which started on December 8, 2017. High quality and timely implementation of all planned works has allowed us to bring the reactor critical safe and in due time.”
In turn, Leningrad Plant Manager Vladimir Pereguda said: “It is symbolic that the plant started this year with a great achievement; it has produced a record amount of electricity for domestic nuclear power plants, 1 billion kWh. The team of Leningrad NPP has prepared Unit 1 for MCP in due time. And now, before our eyes, the most powerful unit is born to the family of Leningrad NPP which will multiply this achievement.”
According to the first criticality program, in the next week the specialists will conduct a set of physical experiments. This will clarify the neutronics characteristics of the first reactor fuel charge obtained through the calculations as well as confirm reliability of functioning of protection features, interlocks and the entire nuclear physics monitoring and nuclear safety systems of the reactor.
Following the experiments, the first criticality program will be completed at Unit 1. The specialists will start to prepare to the first power and pilot commercial operation. During all these final stages all unit’s equipment will be functionally checked using operating parameters while releasing heat and electricity.
According to the master schedule, Leningrad II Unit 1’s first power and start of the pilot commercial operation are planned for spring this year.
The minimal controlled power (MCP) is less than 1%. Approaching MCP means that the controlled chain fission reaction has started in the reactor; the neutron flux monitoring hardware has recorded stable neutron power of the reactor. Approaching MCP is one of the final operations of the first criticality stage of the unit.