Russia and China each startup VVER-1000 nuclear reactors

Russia’s latest nuclear power reactor, Rostov 4, reached criticality and minimum controlled power on 29 December, 2017. It is Russia’s 36th reactor in a fleet that meets about 18% of the country’s electricity demand.

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.

Unit 3 of the Tianwan nuclear power plant in China’s Jiangsu province was connected to the grid on 30 December, 2017. The Russian-supplied VVER-1000 is scheduled to enter commercial operation later this year.

Tianwan 3 and 4 are AES-91 VVER-1000 units designed by Gidropress and supplied by Russian state nuclear company Rosatom. AtomStroyExport is the main contractor, supplying the nuclear island. First concrete for unit 3 was poured in December 2012, while construction of unit 4 began in September 2013. Two similar VVER-1000 reactors (units 1 and 2) began operating at the site in 2007.

Power output from the reactor will now be maintained at 25%. Dynamic tests will later be performed at 50%, 75% and 100% of capacity. Upon completion of initial testing at full thermal capacity, demonstration operation will proceed at nominal capacity for 100 hours, after which preliminary acceptance procedures will follow. Preliminary acceptance is the starting point of a two-year warranty period for the operation of Tianwan 3. The unit is scheduled to enter commercial operation later this year.