WNISR, 4 May 2019
Russian nuclear builder-operator Rosatom announced the grid connection of the VVER-1200 Novovoronezh-II-2 on 1 May 2019. This is the second nuclear unit to start up in the world after the commissioning of a reactor in South Korea in April 2019. It is the also the second VVER 1200 to begin operation at the site, and the third in Russia following the startup of Novovoronezh-II-1 on 7 August 2016 and the Leningrad-II-1 on 7 March 2018. Construction started on Novovoronezh-II-2, located in the Voronezh Oblast in central Russia, on 12 July 2009. Nothing is known about the cost implications of the repeated delays stretching the construction time to almost 10 years.
Rosatom has offered the VVER-1200 Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) design, also called AES-2006, with a capacity of 1200 MW in various countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Finland and Vietnam. Two units are under construction in Belarus, however, the design has not been licensed in any western country.
The first independent assessment of the VVER design, specifically the Ostrovets VVER-1200s under construction in Belarus, was completed by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG) in June 2018. ENSREG concluded that that there were significant issues related to the design and safety systems. The assessment of ENSREG contrasts with Rosatom claims that, "They are absolutely safe in operation and fully meet the IAEA’s post-Fukushima requirements.”