8 February 2018

35 Years After Construction Start Rostov‑4 Reactor Connected to Russian Electricity Grid

35 Years After Construction Start Rostov-4 Reactor Connected to Russian Electricity Grid

WNISR, 8 February 2018

On 1 February 2018, the 1000 MWe VVER, Rostov-4 was connected to the Russian electricity grid. The Rostov plant is located on the Tsimlyansk reservoir in the lower stream of the Don River near the city of Volgodonsk, in Russian Southern Federal District. Startup of the reactor brings to completion a four reactor project at the Rostov site where construction began 35 years ago, on 1 January 1983. In 2017, Rostov-4 was one of three reactors under construction worldwide, where building had officially begun over 30 years previously. Startup has been delayed countless times and as recently as in July 2017, Rosatom had scheduled grid connection for December 2017. The latest delay illustrates the builders difficulty to even plan a few months ahead.

Units 1 &2 were designed and are operated by OAO Nizhny Novgorod Engineering Company Atomenergoproekt (NIAEP), while it was the general contractor for the design of Rostov 3 and 4. Unit-3 began operation in December 2014.

The Rostov VVER units are based on the 1970’s and early 1980’s vintage V-320 reactor design, with single reactor containment, and an electrical capacity of up to 1,100 MW each. Rosatom in their promotion of their more recent designs stress the significant higher safety standards in comparison to the VVER-320 design, including the concept of Beyond Design Basis Accident being applied to these later designs.

The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) visited the Rostov unit in September 2017, making recommendations to the plant operator. These have not been disclosed publicly.

In 2016, nuclear energy in Russia contributed 17.1 percent to the country’s electricity mix, a slight decline from the record level in the previous two years (18.5 percent). However, Rosatom is hoping to further increase production in the coming years, with output in 2019 expected to reach 214 TWh, compared to 180 TWh in 2016.