Country profile: Russia

Summary figures for 2016

The following information is from the NEA publication Nuclear Energy Data, the annual compilation of official statistics and country reports on nuclear energy in OECD member countries.

Country
Number of nuclear power plants connected to the grid
Nuclear electricity generation
(net TWh) 2016
Nuclear percentage of total electricity supply
Russia
35
195.2
18.6
 
OECD Total
317
1 877.5
18.5
 
NEA Total
352
2 061.1
18.7
 

Country report

In 2016, the installed capacity of NPPs in Russia reached 26.9 GWe (net), which is 11.2% of the total installed capacity of power plants. Russian NPPs hit a new record, generating 195.2 billion kWh (183.6 billion kWh net).

Legislation

In 2016, amendments to several federal laws regarding the use of nuclear energy were approved. The amendments are aimed at improving state safety regulations concerning the use of atomic energy and the management of the national nuclear industry. In particular, the definitions of "nuclear fuel" and "spent nuclear fuel" are introduced in the federal law and correspond to their definitions in the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management. The amendments also adjusted some of the functions of Rosatom and governmental bodies in the area of safety, as well as the management of R&D activities.

New builds

The most advanced unit of the Beloyarsk NPP (unit 4, with fast breeder reactor BN-800) started commercial operation on 31 October 2016. This start-up followed the issuance by the national regulator, Rostekhnadzor, of a "certificate of compliance" for the unit's design documentation, technical regulations and regulatory legal acts, including requirements for energy efficiency. Unit 4 was connected to the grid and began electricity generation in December 2015. In 2016, tests on different power levels and operation regimes were implemented. The testing programme was completed in August 2016, with 15 days of operation at 100% power level that confirmed the performance ability of the unit without deviation from the design parameters.

Unit 6 of Novovoronezh NPP started commercial operation on 27 February 2017 while the unit was connected to the grid in early August 2016. Novovoronezh 6 is a VVER 1200/392 M pressurised water reactor with a design net capacity of 1 114 MWe. It is the first of two such units at the Novovoronezh-2 NPP, the lead project for the deployment of the AES-2006 design incorporating a Gidropress-designed PWR, an evolutionary development from the VVER-1000. Construction of Novovoronezh-2 units 1 and 2 – or Novovoronezh units 6 and 7 – began in June 2008 and July 2009, respectively. The original Novovoronezh site located nearby already hosts three operating reactors, as well as two that are being decommissioned.

Compared to "conventional" VVER-1000 units, the first Novovoronezh-2 reactor has a number of advantages, which significantly increases its economic performance and safety. In this way, the reactor features a 20% increase in electrical capacity reaching 1 200 MWe. In addition, the life of the main equipment – the reactor pressure vessel and the steam generators – has doubled, from 30 to 60 years. The high level of automation and the introduction of new technological solutions means that the number of personnel involved in the reactor's operation has decreased by 25-30% compared with a VVER-1000 unit.

The unit fully complies with the International Atomic Energy Agency's post-Fukushima Daiichi requirements and is positioned as a "generation 3+" reactor. The main feature of the technology is the use of additional passive safety systems that do not require the intervention of nuclear power plant personnel. The design includes a passive heat removal system, hydrogen recombiners and a core melt trap, or a core catcher.

Licensing

In October 2016, Rostekhnadzor, the national regulatory body, granted a licence to Rosenergoatom Concern allowing construction of the second power unit at the Kursk-2 NPP.

Comprehensive work to justify radiation and nuclear safety, as well as to assess the conformity of managerial and technical features of the installation with relevant licensing requirements and conditions, preceded the issuance of the licence. Moreover, additional geological investigations and calculations were carried out that confirmed the soundness of the proposed VVER-TOI design in terms of radiation and nuclear safety, and national regulations and standards.

In October 2016, the Federal Service for the Supervision of Natural Resources approved the conclusion of the international public ecological evaluation regarding the safety of power units 1 and 2 currently under construction at the Leningrad-2 NPP. This approval is valid for a period of ten years. The interregional ecological public organisation Green Cross, along with experts from Armenia, Belarus, Finland, Hungary, and Kazakhstan analysed materials being developed for justification of licensing to allow operation of the power units at Leningrad-2 NPP. In the conclusion submitted for state expertise in May 2016, the independent experts confirmed that the earlier performed environmental impact assessment is exhaustive, assessments of risk in regular operation, design-basis and beyond-design-basis accidents are credible and the VVER-1200 reactor unit is designed in full compliance with requirements of radiation, nuclear and environmental safety. The state ecological evaluation of materials, developed to justify issuing the operation licence, will facilitate the decision-making process in Rostekhnador as soon as the licence application is submitted.

Decommissioning

Unit 3 of Novovoronezh NPP was shut down on 25 December 2016, becoming the oldest VVER-440 reactor to enter decommissioning. Since starting operations in December 1971, the unit has produced 118.67 TWh of electricity, more than half of the combined annual production of all of Russia's nuclear power plants.

The Novovoronezh site, on the River Don and 42 km (26 miles) south of Voronezh, consists of VVER-210 unit 1, VVER-365 unit 2, VVER-440 units 3 and 4, VVER-1000 unit 5 and VVER-1200 unit 6. Units 1 and 2 were shut down in 1988 and 1990.

Novovoronezh 3 was "the first of a dynasty" of the VVER-440 design, of which six units were built in Russia (two at Novovoronezh and four at Kola) and 29 overseas (in Armenia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Slovak Republic and the Ukraine).

Unit 3 underwent upgrade work between 1999 and 2002, and a 15-year licence extension was obtained for it to continue operations until the end of 2016. It will serve as a pilot facility to adjust decommissioning technology for VVER-440 reactors that have been tested for the decommissioning of units 1 and 2 of Novoronezh NPP. The experience gained will be applied to similar reactors of Russian and foreign NPPs
to be decommissioned.

In general, all nuclear reactors of RBMK-1000, VVER-440, EGP-12, BN-600 types are scheduled to be decommissioned before 2035. Their total installed capacity is 13.4 GWe.

Source: Nuclear Energy Data 2017

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Last reviewed: 6 November 2017