Having travelled for 1,800 kilometers, the “atomic heart” – the reactor pressure vessel VVER-TOI – has arrived at Kursk II construction site in Kurchatov. This is the most essential equipment of Unit 1. At the stage of NPP operation, nuclear fuel is located inside the reactor pressure vessel and controlled nuclear reaction runs releasing large amount of heat there.
The reactor pressure vessel VVER-TOI weights 340 tons. It is 12-meter long. It is made of nickel-less steel which does not change its properties under radiation and at high temperatures. The vessel is capable to withstand pressure of 250 atmospheres that 1.4 times greater than operating one. This is comparable to ocean pressure at a depth of 2.5 km.
“The reactor pressure vessel VVER-TOI has its features. For example, unlike the reactor pressure vessel VVER-1200, the number of welds there has been reduced from six to four: welds in the core region are eliminated. This reduces radiation impact on welds and improves performance characteristics of the item which allows to extend its service life for another 40 years after 60-year operation,” Andrei Osharin, First Deputy Director for New Units Construction of Kursk NPP, noted.
“Production sites of AEM-Technology have pioneered manufacture of equipment for power units with newest VVER-TOI reactors. Nuclear equipment is a special product and any new modification of a standard solution requires adjustment of the production process specifically for such model. But we successfully solved the task while shortening time of certain key operations and traditionally ensured modern highest quality and safety standards. In manufacturing the Kursk II reactor pressure vessel, we used many modern digital solutions and technologies for the first time. So VVER-TOI, to a certain extent, may be considered a new nuclear “digital product” which does not have a similar one in the world today,” Igor Kotov, General Director of JSC AEM-Technology, said.
The transportation of the super-heavy off-standard load was logistically complicated. From the place of manufacture – Atommash in Volgodonsk – the equipment was delivered to the special pier at the Tsimlyanskoye Water Body, loaded on a barge and delivered by water to the city of Semiluki in Voronezh Region. The river route was 1,500 kilometers. In some places the river bottom had to be deepened for the barge to pass. Then, the item travelled another 300 kilometers on a special truck to Kurchatov.
”The work to strengthen road cover and 5 bridges was carried out, as well as about 1.5 km of a by-road was constructed on the transportation route of the reactor pressure vessel from Semiluki to Kursk II construction site. The transportation was carried out by road with observance of special traffic speed,” Aleksandr Uvakin, Acting Director of Kursk NPP, explained.
“On the replacement construction site the construction and installation are carried out actively. Now, we start working on auxiliary and support facilities, continue constructing main buildings and structures. The near-term task is to prepare the transportation and handling devices for installation of the reactor. The installation of the reactor pressure vessel at its designed place will launch a new stage of construction, i.e. the beginning of thermal and mechanical equipment installation works at Unit 1. This is scheduled for 2022,” Oleg Shperle, Director Kursk II Construction Project, emphasized.
its 1 and 2 of Kursk NPP 2 pertain to Generation III+ and are pilot units which are constructed to VVER-TOI design (standard optimized informatized water-water power reactor). They meet all safety requirements of the IAEA. The Engineering Division of ROSATOM – ASE – designs and constructs the facility. This is a new project created by Russian architects on the basis of technical solutions of the NPP project with VEER-1200 reactors. They have higher power capacity, performance indicators and higher robustness to extreme external impacts and natural disasters.