OREANDA-NEWS. On the 20th of May at 16:11, the reactor of the innovative power unit 6 of Novovoronezh NPP – the first in series of Generation III+ - achieved the minimum controlled power (MCP), said Vladimir Povarov, the Plant Manager.

Thus, the controlled chain fission reaction has started in the reactor, which operates at power which is less than 1% of the rated value; the standard ionizing chambers recorded neutron flux that corresponds to the minimum controlled power.

According to the regulations, during the reactor MCP operation the plant and sectoral specialists will measure actual neutronics of the reactor core to confirm compliance with the design parameters and correctness of functioning of the reactor control and protection systems.

Achievement of the reactor criticality and completion of physical tests at MCP is the final stage of the first criticality program of Unit 6. It was preceded by charging the reactor with nuclear fuel, assembling the reactor, and tests in the subcritical state.

Rostechnadzor confirmed that the power unit was prepared for MCP; the agency controlled the work at each stage of the facility construction.

The next stage that follows the first criticality will be stage-by-stage power build-up, which is accompanied with a large number of tests and measurements. Then, the turbine start from rests (normal spin up when the turbine generator’s rotor running idly) will come, which is most important and critical operation at the stage of the first power. Its idle trials and connection of the generator to the grid will come later.
Power units of Generation III+ now are built in the USA, France and other countries. Unit 6 of Novovoronezh NPP, however, has become the world’s first nuclear power unit of the latest generation, which is not just built but also reached the first criticality.