Rostov (previously - Volgodonsk) nuclear power plant - not an easy fate
The nuclear power plant has a difficult fate. After the accident at Chernobyl, it could well have remained an unfinished monument of the Soviet era, but still the Volgodonsk NPP was completed, but environmentalists and the public express strong concerns about its safety. Since 2010, renamed the Rostov NPP.
Rostov (Volgodonsk) NPP is the largest energy enterprise in Southern Russia, which provides 15% of the region’s electricity production and 50% of the region’s production. The design capacity of the first launched nuclear power unit is 1000 MW. By 2018, all 4 power units were launched, and the electric power reached 4,200 MW. Daily volumes of electricity generated exceed 25 million kWh, more than 8 billion kWh are produced annually.
The technical project was developed by the Atomenergoproekt Institute (Nizhny Novgorod Branch), which envisaged the construction of a station of 4 power units with VVER-1000 model reactors. The power of Volgodonsk NPP is 4.2 GW.Electric energy is transmitted along four lines with a voltage of 500 kV to the neighboring areas of Rostov and Volgograd regions, Stavropol and Krasnodar Territories.
Start of construction
Preparatory construction work began in 1977. The location of the Volgodonsk NPP is located at: near the town of Volgodonsk, Rostov Region. The regional center Rostov-on-Don is at a distance of 250 km. In 1979, the construction project was approved, and by 1985 already completed the bulk of construction work at the first power unit.
In order to dramatically accelerate the construction, it was necessary to attract additional labor resources. Dormitories in the city and the workers' settlement at the NPP under construction could no longer accommodate the specialists who arrived. It was decided to build the village Podgora for the builders of the nuclear power plant.
After the tragic incident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the situation around the nuclear power plants under construction has sharply worsened. After the easing associated with the beginning of perestroika, protests of the local population, which were afraid of a repetition of technological disaster, sharply increased.
In 1990, under growing public pressure, the construction of the Volgodonsk NPP, together with the Crimean NPP, was frozen. By this time, the first power unit was almost completely built, the second was erected by 30%, the foundation slab was poured for the third one, and for the fourth the excavation was dug.
Resumption of construction
Closer to 1998, various state programs for the development of the energy system in the southern regions of the country and research into the prospects for the development of the nuclear power industry justified the need to complete the construction of the Volgodonskaya NPP. In April of the same year, by the decision of the deputies of the local Duma, the construction was restarted. Two environmental assessments were carried out, following which it was decided to build only two units, because the station cooling pond was not able to support the normal operation of a larger number of units.
In 2000, after obtaining a construction license, the Volgodonsk NPP officially became a nuclear power facility under construction. In December 2001, the first power unit was commissioned. It was the first nuclear power plant launched in the country after the Chernobyl accident.
The following year, construction work was resumed at the second power unit, which was planned to be built by 2008. At that time it was the largest investment project in the region. Despite the fact that large-scale construction work was launched, and 7,000 people worked at the construction site, the unit was commissioned only in 2009. In commercial operation adopted in 2010.
Completion of construction
In 2009, public hearings were held on the construction of two more units. More than one and a half thousand people took part in them: representatives of Rosatom, environmentalists, representatives of the city administration and local residents. Many of the Volgodonsk environmentalists were against the construction, considering the project obsolete, since the reactors do not have a double containment shell and other improvements. Also, activists believed that it was necessary to conduct a survey of residents on the issue of the feasibility of construction. The hearings had a wide public response, the photo of the Volgodonsk NPP appeared in many publications.
The construction of power unit No. 3 with a new generation reactor was started in 2009.In 2015, it was put into commercial operation, which would give the opportunity to supply electricity to the Crimea. The construction of the next block began in 2010, according to the statements of the atomic industry specialists, when designing it, the reasons for all the incidents that occurred at nuclear power plants over the past 50 years were taken into account. In 2017, trial operation at minimum capacity began. In April 2018, the reactor was first brought to design capacity for the first time - after a series of tests, the power unit will begin to be prepared for commercial operation. Construction and bringing to the design capacity of the Rostov (Volgodonsk) NPP is one of the largest investment projects in the south of the country.