The Leningrad power plantSami Abdou
The Leningrad power plant illustrates the past , present and future of Russia`s domestic nuclear power program and extensive reactor exports .
The Soviet Union constructed the first RBMK type reactor here in 1973.
Russia is constructing one of the first VVER-1200 designs at Leningrad and hope to export these reactors globally.
The installation is located 40 miles west of ST. Petersburg and 145 miles east – southeast of Helsinki.
The complex consists of the Leningrad one power station , educational and technological institutes , support facilities and the new Leningrad II power stations .
In 1966 the Soviet Council of Ministers authorized a nuclear power installation for Leningrad Oblast.
The plant`s four reactors came on line between 1973 and 1980 making Leningrad the largest power generating station in Europe at the time of its commissioning .
Leningrad`s original reactors RBMK-1000 designs which are graphite moderated and light water cooled , the core is kept in a helium nitrogen environment as high temperature graphite can combust in air .
Some RBMK reactors have partial containment structures but they notoriously lack full containment .
Chernobyl reactor N0:4 in Ukraine which suffered the worst nuclear accident in history was RBMK-1000 reactor , following the 1986 accident at Chernobyl which also did a widespread radioactive contamination , the Soviet Union reviewed other RBMK reactors to improve their safety.
RBMK reactors still in operation are considered by many outside experts pause continuous safety concerns in large part because they lack full containment structures.
However , Russia plans to operate the Leningrad one reactor until at least 2020 when it will begin their decommissioning.
In October 2008 Russia began constructing two of four planned VVER-1200 reactors at Leningrad which eventually will replace the RMBK reactors , when finished the plant will include cooling towers , fuel storage , turbines and large containment structures with active and passive safety systems .
The VVER a water cooled , water moderated reactor is Russia`s flagship pressurized water reactor exported to countries in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere beginning in 1970s .
Perhaps the most well-known example of Russia`s VVER exports is Iran`s Bushehr nuclear power plant which is VVER-1000 .
The reactors at Leningrad II are scheduled to the first 1200MW – VVERs to come on line and generation 3+ variance on the original design .
Currently VVERs reactors in various sizes are in operation in 10 countries and are in various stages of planning or construction in numerous additional countries worldwide demonstrating the relevance of the technology being deployed at Leningrad to global nuclear power trends .