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First unit of Belarusian nuclear power plant passes vacuum test

Cooling towers of the Belarusian nuclear power plant. An archive photo

MINSK, 23 September (BelTA) – A vacuum test in the condenser of the turbine unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant's first unit has been successfully completed, BelTA learned from ASE Company. The company is the general designer and general contractor in the project for building the Belarusian nuclear power plant. It also represents the engineering division of the Russian state nuclear industry corporation Rosatom.

Maksim Bogachko, Deputy Director for Heat Systems of ASE Company's representative office in Belarus, explained that the vacuum test is all about gradually reducing pressure in the condenser array of the turbine unit down to the necessary level. It is a most important startup and commissioning operation. It is meant to prove the working capacity of the machinery room, the air tightness of the vacuum system of the turbine unit and the ability of the turbine to handle steam.

The vacuum level is one of the main parameters affecting the operational economy and performance of the turbine unit. Vacuum is necessary for the power-generating unit to reach operational levels. Vacuum must be maintained within limits specified by the standard operating procedures for the entire service life of the power-generating unit.

“The vacuum test is done as part of the work to get the unit ready for hot trials, which are scheduled to begin in mid-October,” BelTA learned from Vitaly Polyanin, ASE Company Vice President and supervisor of the Belarusian nuclear power plant construction project.

The Belarusian nuclear power plant is being built near Ostrovets, Grodno Oblast using a Russian design featuring two VVER-1200 reactors with the total output capacity of 2,400MW. The first power-generating unit is scheduled for commissioning in late 2019, with the second one to go online in 2020.