Fuel loading began at the Unit-1 of the first ever nuclear power plant in Belarusia, which is also the first VVER-1200 reactor based NPP outside Russia.
Belarusia has many things common with Bangladesh in terms of implementation of NPP. As in Rooppur NPP, the Belorusian NPP hosts two units with Russian VVER-1200 reactors and engineering division of Russia’s state atomic energy corporation Rosatom is implementing it as the general designer and contractor.
In the morning of August 7, the first fuel assembly was loaded into the reactor of unit 1. 163 assemblies will be loaded before the end of this month.
Following the fuel loading, the reactor will reach the minimum controllable level (1% of the total power capacity)and relevant tests will be performed. From that moment on, the reactor acquires the status of a nuclear power facility. After confirmation of reliability and safety of the power unit, the Power Start-Up will begin and the reactor will be connected to the grid.
“The Republic of Belarus has become the owner of a power unit built according to the latest Gen 3+ technologies. This technology has been proved and tested through the operation of similar power units in Russia. They meet all the post-Fukushima safety requirements, and all the IAEA missions have recognized their reliability. It is very important for us that we have built the first VVER-1200 unit abroad in the Republic of Belarus, a good neighbor of ours,” said Alexey Likhachev, Director General of Rosatom.
The Belarusian NPP construction project is being implemented in an open and transparent manner. The power plant meets all the IAEA safety requirements. Belarus cooperates with the management and experts of the organization regularly, and it also interacts with representatives of the European Commission and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG). Between 2012 and 2020, seven key IAEA missions,( which are recommended for countries building their first nuclear power plants), were carried out.
Currently, three power units with VVER-1200 reactors are successfully operated in Russia: two at the Novovoronezh NPP and one at the Leningrad NPP. Furthermore, in July, construction was completed and start-up operations began at another power unit at the Leningrad NPP.
“Compared to the power units with the VVER-1000 reactor of the previous generation, the innovative Gen 3+ power unit with the VVER-1200 reactor has a number of advantages that significantly increase its economic performance and safety”, said Andrey Petrov, Director General of Rosenergoatom - First Vice-President for nuclear power plant construction of the ASE Group. He further noted that, main feature of the VVER-1200 is a unique combination of active and passive safety systems that make the NPP fully resistant to external and internal influences. For example, all power units are equipped with a core catcher, a device provided to catch the molten core material of a nuclear reactor, as well as other passive safety systems capable of operating in complete power outage and without operators. In addition, the capacity of the power unit has increased by 20%, the number of maintenance personnel has been significantly reduced, and the design life of the main equipment has been increased to 60 years with the possibility of extending it for another 20 years.
Today, Bangladesh, Belarus, Finland, Hungary, Turkey and Egypt are going forward with 3+ Generation NPPs based on Russian VVER- 1200 reactors.