The most innovative Generation III+ VVER-1200 nuclear reactor in the world was put into commercial operation at the Russian Novovoronezh nuclear power plant under Rosatom control breaking record as the most powerful nuclear unit in operation in the country on February 27th 2017. On March 1st Jacques Regaldo, Chairman of World Association of Nuclear Operators, gave his approval of the work put into commissioning the unit: “Novovoronezh NPP personnel can be proud to have commissioned VVER-1200 nuclear power unit”.
The Russian Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service had previously issued the certificate of conformity ensuring that the facility meets the requirements for project documentation, technical regulations and laws, including energy efficiency requirements.
Unparalleled VVER-1200 unit was firstly connected to the national grid and started producing power yet in August 2016. The rated power was achieved successfully during start-up and pilot operation, and inspections and tests of the equipment and systems at different power levels and operating modes were successfully conducted.
The first launch was followed by WANO mission visit to the station. The First Deputy to Director General of WANO Moscow Centre, Anatoly Kirichenko, said that the Novovoronezh site is unique because units in all the three stages currently coexist at this plant.
Novovoronezh NPP provides for a mere chance to see an evolutionary sequence of VVER technology on the same site. There are units Nos. 3 and 4 (VVER-440) and No. 5 (VVER-1000) that operate just now. And there are the innovative unit No. 6 (VVER-1200) and the construction site of unit No. 7, which will also utilize VVER-1200 reactor.
The power station has been providing electricity to the Voronezh region (52 400 m2) for 53 years, last year reaching over 85% of total regional electricity supply for 21 large industrial and manufacturing plants and 2,3 mln of people.
The design of the innovative power unit of generation III+ includes the most powerful type of VVER reactor with a capacity of 1200 MW, as well as a high-speed turbine specially designed for new-generation NPPs.
Novovoronezh NPP provides the highest level of operational safety and fully meets all post-Fukushima requirements strictly set by the IAEA. It main feature of Generation III+ reactors is epitomized by a unique combination of active and passive safety systems, which do not require the NPP personnel intervention. Examples of innovative solutions in the field of safety applied in the project:
• Enhanced safety containment system: a double containment shell of the reactor hall and a core catcher located under the reactor vessel. It helps prevent radioactive releases into the environment and provides physical protection against natural disasters, industrial accidents and other emergencies;
• Two completely separate safety trains with internal redundancy of active elements;
• Passive residual heat removal system enabling sustained heat removal from the reactor core in the absence of any power sources.
The design also incorporates additional safety features developed taking into account the results of stress tests performed under extreme conditions that were harsher than during the accident at Fukushima-1 NPP.