Russia’s sate nuclear corporation Rosatom, which is building the two Generation III VVER-1200 reactor units at Ostrovets, said Unit 1 achieved first criticality on 11 October 2020 at 02:26 local time.
According to Rosatom, reaching the minimum controlled power level at under 1% of design capacity marks the final stage of physical startup.
Rosatom said the phase allows staff to safely verify whether the physical characteristics of the reactor core comply with design requirements.
The company said specialists will now carry out more than 50 physical tests on the neutron characteristics of the reactor’s fuel and will confirm the operational reliability of the unit’s monitoring and safety systems.
Based on the results of these experiments, the Belarusian nuclear regulator could grant permission for the gradual increase of the operating power level of the Belarusian-1, Rosatom said.
First fuel loading of the Belarusian-1 was completed in August 2020.
Construction of Belarusian-1 began in November 2013 and of Belarusian-2 in April 2014.
Belarusian energy minister Viktor Karankevich said recently that commercial operation of Belarusian-1 is planned for the first quarter of 2021.