The molten core catcher or the so-called ‘melt trap’ has been installed at its design position under the reactor vault of the 2nd power block of Kursk NPP that is being constructed following the VVER-TOI project.
‘A molten core catcher is a unique development of the Russian nuclear power experts and one of the key NPP safety systems. It is a specially designed system for beyond-design-basis accident management’, Igor Kuzmenko, the chief engineer of the Kursk NPP -2 capital construction department. ‘This Kursk NPP-2 ‘melt trap’ is a new-generation device. It has been customized for specific site conditions and safety requirements, has improved earthquake resistance, hydrodynamic and impact resistance capacity as well as flood protection and simplified installation procedure’.
‘The molten core catcher has been installed ahead of schedule’, Alexey Smirnov, the deputy director of the Kursk NPP-2 internal construction resources management at EC ASE, noted. ‘This is the result of concerted efforts between OOO Trest RosSEM and PAO Energospecmontazh’.
The catcher’s vessel weights 163 tons. A DEMAG caterpillar crane, which is now placed between two nuclear islands, lifted the equipment 8 meters above the ground and installed it at its design location. Other elements of the ‘melt trap’ are: block cassettes filled with special non-metal materials, a maintenance site, a cantilever truss and a lower block.
Before the installation of the molten core catcher, the reactor vault’s first-circle reinforced concrete block was assembled. The 95-tons construction is unique in its own way. Unlike the structures used at the Leningrad and the Novovoronezh NPP, it’s already coated, which reduced the assembly time.
The 3+ generation 1st and 2nd power blocks of the Kursk NPP-2 are pilot projects constructed based on the VVER-TOI project (pressurized water type reactor standard optimized). This is a new designed elaborated by Russian specialists (ASE Group, the engineering division of the Rosatom State Corporation) on top of the technical solutions of the VVER-1200 NPP project. Compared to the previous-generation power blocks (VVER-1000), the capacity of each has been increased by 25%, up to 1,255 megawatt. The life span of the major equipment has doubled. The new Kursk NPP-2 power blocks comply with the most recent safety regulations set by the IAEA. The developer and the technical customer of the facility is the Rosenergoatom Joint-Stock Company. The general designer and the general contractor is ASE.