VVER-1200 reactor unit in Russia adjudged ‘Top Plant’

Russia`s Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant Unit 6 with the VVER-1200 reactor, the same model which will be installed in Bangladesh’s nuclear power plant at Rooppur, has been adjudged the ‘Top Plant-2017’ in the nuclear power generation category. The ‘Top Plants’ is a rating of the innovative nuclear energy projects.

The Novovoronezh NPP was chosen the winner along with Columbia Generating Station in Washington and Ringhals Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden. The winners were selected by the editors of the oldest United States-based POWER magazine, on the basis of several indicators, including the uniqueness of technology and its effectiveness and safety.

The Novovoronezh NPP has an important place in the history of nuclear power industry of Russia. The plant has units of all generations of Russian Water-Water Energetic Reactors (VVER), using normal water under pressure as a neutron moderator and a reactor coolant, including VVER-1200 of the latest “Generation 3+” at the Unit 6. Distinctive features of VVER include the horizontal steam generators, hexahedral fuel assemblies, and the high-capacity pressurisers that provide a large reactor coolant inventory.

The Unit 1 of this plant had joined commercial operations in 1967. The Units 1 and 2 were decommissioned in 1988 and 1990. Unit 3 of the plant was decommissioned in 2016, while Unit 4 is scheduled for decommissioning in 2017. Unit 5 of the plant has recently undergone a USD 453 million upgrade where it was shut down to extend its operational life making it the first VVER-1000 to undergo such modernisation. It has advanced features similar to those of a ‘Generation 3’ reactor and will operate until 2035.

The winning Unit 6 of VVER-1200 entered commercial operation in February 2017. The same type of reactors will be installed in the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. Two Units are planned to be set up at Rooppur and there are expected to go operational by 2023 and 2024.

The Unit 6 was given the award as it meets all post-Fukushima safety requirements. VVER-1200 has been designed to produce 1,200 MWe of power with optimised fuel efficiency. It is planned to have a lifetime of around 60 years at 90 per cent capacity factor.

VVER-1200 is a flagship nuclear reactor and a core product of Russia`s ROSATOM’ State Atomic Energy Corporation. Being an evolution of VVER-1000 reactors that were built in Iran (Bushehr), India (Kudankulam) and China (Tianwan), the new design features improved performance across all parameters and a range of additional safety systems preventing radioactive substances from getting out of hermetically sealed containment in cases of emergency. The VVER reactor offers adequate emergency solutions, including a core cooling system, a backup diesel power supply, an advanced refuelling machine, computerised reactor control systems, a backup feed water supply, and reactor SCRAM system.