On November 7, 2020, the power level of unit 1 at Belarusian NPP was raised up to 400 MW. This happened during the power increasing process which is a power startup stage.
The generation III + VVER-1200 reactor-equipped power unit (designed and built by the Engineering Division of Rosatom) was connected to the grid and began to produce electricity on the 3 of November. After this, with all the comprehensive tests of equipment and systems, the gradual process of increasing the nominal power up to 50% has begun. The next stage is the trial operation by which the reactor power will be gradually increased from 50% to 100%. It is scheduled on the late November-early December.
“This week, Belarus became a full-fledged member of the global nuclear energy club: its first nuclear power unit started to produce electricity. As for Rosatom, this is its first generation III+ VVER-1200 reactor-based project – the most in demand nuclear power plant design in the world – to be successfully implemented outside of Russia. Similar projects are being realised in Finland, Hungary, Turkey, Bangladesh, and China,” said Rosatom’s Director General Alexey Likhachev.
Power unit 1 is scheduled to be commissioned for commercial operation in the first quarter of 2021.It is the first Russian-designed generation III + unit to operate outside of Russia. Currently, there are three such power units successfully operating within Russia: two at Novovoronezh NPP and two at Leningrad NPP. The main advantage of the innovative generation III + VVER-1200-reactor-equipped power unit is its combination of active and passive safety systems that make it maximally resistant to external and internal influences. The lower part of the containment shell (one of two containment shells), as per the unit’s design, has a melt localisation device, or a melt “trap,” designed to localise and cool the melt of the reactor core, as well as other passive safety systems that are capable of operating independently of the unit’s active systems or operator intervention.
The generation III+ design has increased the reactor’s capacity by 20%, reduced the number of maintenance personnel, and doubled the unit’s lifespan from 30 to 60 years, with the possibility of a twenty-year extension. Rosatom subsidiary Atomenergomash JSC is the sole supplier of key equipment to Belarusian NPP. The fuel assemblies were manufactured by Rosatom’s fuel division (TVEL OJSC) at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant (NZHK PJSC). The fuel’s enrichment level varies from 1.3 to 4.4%.