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Moscow: Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom announced a historic first in its record of building nuclear power plants with the launch of two reactors at home in the span of a week earlier this month here on Tuesday.

While fuel loading began at Unit 4 of the Rostov Nuclear Power Plant on December 6, the first fuel assembly was loaded into the reactor of Unit 1 of Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant-2, a Rosatom release said here.

"For the first time in its history Russia is launching two nuclear power plants in just a week's time," it said.

"Russia began the first criticality stage of two nuclear power units last week," it said, referring to the start of the nuclear fission process in the reactor. It includes taking the reactor unit to the minimum controlled power level.

The Leningrad plant has the latest "Generation 3-plus" nuclear reactor -- the VVER-1200 -- powered by advanced fuel, which Russia has also offered to supply for the second nuclear power project to follow the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) in India's Tamil Nadu state. The Russian-aided KNPP envisages the construction of six reactors of the earlier generation VVER type of 1,000 MW capacity each.

The VVER-1200 has 20 per cent more capacity than the VVER-1000. The first two units at KNPP are already connected to the Southern grid, while work has started on units 3 and 4.

Rosatom started work last month on first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh at Rooppur which will have two VVER 1200 reactors for total capacity of 2,400 MW.

The world's first VVER-1200 was unveiled last year with unit 6 of the Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant in Russia being connected to the country's electricity grid.

While the Leningrad NPP is the largest producer of electricity in northwest Russia, the
Rostov NPP is the power sector enterprise in south Russia, Rosatom said.

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