Russia's BN-800 unit enters commercial operation

01 November 2016

Unit 4 of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant in Russia has started commercial operation, state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced today. The BN-800 fast neutron reactor started operating at 100% power for the first time on 17 August.

Beloyarsk 4 - 460 (Rosatom)
Beloyarsk 4 (Image: Rosatom)

Rosatom described the achievement as "one of the most important events of the year for Russian nuclear power".

Andrey Petrov, general director of Rosatom's civilian nuclear power plant operator subsidiary Rosenergoatom, signed the order giving permission for the start of operations of Beloyarsk 4 yesterday. Before go-ahead from Petrov, regulator Rostechnadzor had completed all the required checks of the unit and issued a "certificate of compliance with design documentation, technical regulations and regulatory legal acts, including the requirements of energy efficiency", Rosatom said.

The BN-800 reactor was brought to minimum controlled power for the first time in June 2014, at which time commercial operation was planned for the end of that year. However, in December 2014 Rosenergoatom announced that nuclear fuel for the unit would first be developed further. It was brought again to the minimum controlled power level in August 2015, and again in November 2015, eventually being connected to the grid on 10 December 2015.

The 789 MWe BN-800 Beloyarsk 4 is fuelled by a mix of uranium and plutonium oxides arranged to produce new fuel material as it burns. Its capacity exceeds that of the world's second most powerful fast reactor - the 560 MWe BN-600 Beloyarsk 3.

Beloyarsk 4 brings the total of nuclear power units in operation in Russia to 35 with a combined installed capacity of 27,127 GWe. These 35 do not include Novovoronezh 6, which is undergoing trial operation.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News