Rosatom said physical startup of the Generation III+ VVER unit, under construction on the Gulf of Finland, began on 19 July.
The company said 163 fuel assemblies will be loaded into the reactor core. The fuel was manufactured by Rosatom nuclear fuel subsidiary Tvel at its plant in Novosibirsk in Siberia, southern Russia.
The physical startup phase takes about two months. Upon completion of fuel loading, the reactor will be brought to its minimum controlled power level of 1% and the correctness of fuel loading confirmed.
Rosatom said the plant s scheduled to be connected to the grid this autumn and the power level increased to 100%. Commercial operation s scheduled for the beginning of 2021.
Commissioning of the unit will mean Russia’s fleet of Generation III+ units will increase to four. The others are Leningrad 2-1, Novovoronezh 2-1 and Novovoronezh 2-2.
Construction of 1,085-MW Leningrad 2-2 unit began in April 2010. The identical Leningrad 2-1, began commercial operation in October 2018.