loading of fuel into the Nuclear reactor
This handout picture taken by Kyushu Electric Power on July 7, 2015 shows a fuel rod being inserted in a reactor vessel at the Kyushu Electric Power's Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima prefecture, on Japan's southern island of Kyushu. Atomic fuel was being loaded into the reactor in southern Japan on July 7 as its operator prepared to restart operations despite widespread public opposition to the technology. The reactor is expected to become the first one to go back on line after two years of complete hiatus in Japan following the tsunami-sparked disaster at Fukushima in 2011. AFP PHOTO / KYUSHU ELECTRIC POWER ---EDITORS NOTE---HANDOUT RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / KYUSHU ELECTRIC POWER" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
In international news, Russia's Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant II announced that personnel started loading fuel into the VVER-1200 reactor core on 24 March.

In a company statement issued on Tuesday, the nuclear power plant gave details on the progress made regarding the ongoing construction of the Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) II.

According to the release, the power plant’s personnel have started work for the nuclear facility’s operation in accordance with the Rostekhnadzor license, which regulates the operation of chemically hazardous production facilities.

“The first phase of physical startup for the ‘NPP-2006’ project was preceded by a series of works, including: transportation of fuel assembly cans from the fresh fuel storage facility to the reactor building, personnel and equipment readiness inspection.

“Only after that, on March 24, at 03:28 a.m., the first fuel assembly was loaded, and on March 25 the loading reached its active phase,” the company stated.

Nuclear power safety is vital

Vladimir Povarov, director at the nuclear power plant, highlighted safety as the basic requirement to commence operations at the new power unit.

[quote]“The reactor core has been loaded with fuel assembly simulators and the neutron current control equipment has been assembled at the physical startup stage in order to ensure additional safety,” he stressed.

Povarov added: “This loading is absolutely [a] non-standard one. It is the first time when we load nuclear fuel into the reactor core partially filled with fuel assembly simulators in order to improve safety of the new power unit.”

The nuclear power plant, which began construction in 2008, is being built on the same site as the current Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant.

Future reference

Povarov has expressed confidence that the new nuclear power unit will serve as a reference after its commissioning and would promote the dynamic development of nuclear power.

Explaining the loading process, Fyodor Tatarkin, the leading engineer of the Novovoronezh branch of Atomtekhenergo, said: “the loading is arranged in a manner that at the first stage fresh fuel amounts to about one third of all the loaded assemblies and the rest is represented by fuel assembly simulators.

“Later, fuel will be loaded alternately in remaining cells instead of fuel assembly simulators in accordance with the working schedule.”