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Event hosted at Dubai Expo on how nuclear technology improves people’s lives

As part of its week-long programme “Breakthrough Technologies for a Sustainable Future” organised recently at the ongoing EXPO 2020 in Dubai, the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom hosted an event titled “Public demand for nuclear energy: how nuclear technologies improve our lives” that focused on public acceptance of nuclear energy.  

During the session, which was moderated by Rosatom Middle East and North Africa CEO Alexander Voronkov, distinguished speakers from all over the world talked about global communication approaches for raising awareness about nuclear technologies, as well as the challenges that need to be overcome.  

The World Nuclear Association Director General, Sama Bilbao-y-Leon, kicked off the discussion saying that access to reliable and clean electricity provided by nuclear energy plays an important role in strengthening public health both directly and indirectly.  

“It (access to clean electricity) goes beyond medical facilities; it includes protecting children’s lives, providing safe drinking water and food security,” Bilbao-y-Leon said. 

According to Rosatom’s Voronkov, transparency and open dialogue are the beacons of effective communication in the nuclear sector. “They ensure that correct information about sensitive topics is delivered and that common myths and stereotypes about nuclear energy are debunked. Moreover, they help win public trust”, Voronkov said.   

Jeffrey Donovan, a Communication, Outreach and Stakeholder Involvement Officer at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), talked about a new guide published by the IAEA which provides theoretical and practical advice on how to effectively engage stakeholders on nuclear topics.  

International Youth Nuclear Association Vice President, Cristian Vega, made a presentation describing the main challenges of the 21st century and elaborated on the role international organizations can play in improving people’s lives with the help of nuclear energy. 

Rosatom Central and South Africa CEO Ryan Collyer noted that one of Rosatom’s key goals is to motivate young people to educate themselves, their peers and their elders on the benefits of nuclear technologies, as well as to come up with solutions to help their communities and countries.  

“Rosatom strongly believes that young people need to play a vital role in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and more specifically in the fight against climate change. We put a great deal of resources into supporting youth to foster their talents and share their views and ideas”, Collyer said. 

Rosatom organizes an annual video competition called Atoms Empowering Africa, where young people from the age of 18 can share their videos and talk about how nuclear energy can benefit their lives and society at large.  

In this connection, African Young Generation in Nuclear (AYGN) President, Gaopalelwe Santswere, said: “Video competition is a creative way to show that nuclear technology can provide innovative solutions to global challenges and create ways to benefit people’s quality of life on our continent.” 

A Rosatom release on the event said that it also facilitated communication with many young nuclear specialists such as Princess Mthombeni, an award-winning international communication specialist, as well as a lifelong nuclear technology advocate and founder of Africa4Nuclear. Underlining the importance of engaging audiences across social media platforms to help spread messages about the benefits of nuclear technology, Mthombeni also described how her media event – Stand up for Nuclear – helped encourage other countries like Nigeria and Kenya to join the nuclear debate.   

Throughout Rosatom Week at the Dubai Expo, international experts shared many real-life examples to illustrate how nuclear technology can improve quality of life and bring lasting benefits to society.  

One of the most inspiring examples is The Rhisotope Project, an initiative involving South Africa’s WITS University, top global nuclear scientists, South African rhino owners and the world’s best wildlife veterinarians, aimed at significantly reducing rhino poaching. The purpose of the project is to create a lasting and effective means of lowering the number of rhinos being poached for their horns by injecting these with radioactive isotopes, 

“The plight of the African rhino is a very serious one and the problem has been there for a long time. Sadly, we have now reached the point when there are only about 16,000 rhinos left in South Africa and that is the largest population in the world”, Rosatom Central and South Africa CEO Ryan Collyer said 

“For me, and for many others, this is a realisation that we are at this crucial point and we clearly haven’t done enough. This is really how the idea of The Rhisotope Project came to be. Basically, we are trying to save a magical and endangered species. If you look at a rhinoceros, it really is a real-life unicorn”, he added. 

The final address at the event was by Heather Hoff, one of the co-founders of Mothers for Nuclear. She had started Mothers for Nuclear as a way to share the stories of women and begin a dialogue with others who want to protect nature for future generations. 

Test assembly of elements of MBIR fast neutron research reactor performed in Russia 

Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom has performed a test assembly of elements of a multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (MBIR) being constructed in Russia, Rosatom announced earlier this week.   

An official statement said the test assembly of the MBIR reactor with a thermal capacity of 150 MW, which is scheduled for commissioning during the second half of this decade, was undertaken by Rosatom subsidiary Atommash at Rosatom’s Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) in Dimitrovgrad located in the Ulyanovsk region of Russia. 

“The scope of the test assembly includes 6 items of equipment with a total weight of 164 tons. The vessel with the support ring was installed using a crane into a 20 meters deep caisson on a specially designed support with a deviation of no more than 0.1 mm from the horizontal position of the main connector”, it said. 

“A basket was installed inside the vessel to separate the coolant flows (liquid sodium) entering and leaving the MBIR and to organize the cooling of the reactor vessel and in-vessel internals”, the statement added.   

Regarding the specifications, Rosatom said the assembly is 12 meters high, 4.1 meters in diameter, and the vessel’s weight is 83 tons. On completion of its construction, the MBIR will be the most powerful research reactor in operation in the world.  

The MBIR’s main purpose is to conduct mass reactor tests of innovative materials and prototypes of core elements for nuclear power systems of the fourth generation, including fast neutron reactors with fuel cycle closure, as well as thermal reactors of small and medium power. 

According to Rosatom, the MBIR’s unique technical characteristics will provide the nuclear industry with a technologically advanced research infrastructure for the next 50 years and will allow solving a wide range of research problems, paving the way for the creation of new competitive and safe nuclear power plants, including fast neutron reactors and the nuclear fuel cycle closure, “while ensuring an enormous enhancement of the opportunities for experimental research.” 

In December 2021, Rosatom announced that the International Advisory Board to determine the research program for the world’s most powerful multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor is planned to be established this year. The Board, which will include leading Russian and international experts, and its technical committees drawn from various fields would be vested with all the powers required to manage the research side of the MBIR project. 

Meanwhile, Rosatom’s fuel arm, TVEL, has started construction of a 300 MW nuclear power unit equipped with the BREST-OD-300 fast neutron reactor at the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk. 

Both the fuel fabrication and the reactor units form part of the Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex (PDEC) being built at the Siberian Chemical Plant by TVEL. The PDEC is underway as part of the strategic “Proryv” (‘Breakthrough’ in Russian) project. It will include three linked facilities, making up a closed nuclear fuel cycle at one site — the fuel fabrication/re-fabrication unit, the 300 MW nuclear power plant with the fast neutron BREST-OD-300 reactor, and the unit for spent fuel reprocessing. 

According to TVEL, “after reprocessing, the irradiated fuel from the reactor will be sent for refabrication (i.e., reproduction into fresh fuel), thereby giving this system the means to gradually become practically autonomous and independent of external resources supplies”. 

The nuclear power industry’s resource base will practically become inexhaustible thanks to the infinite reprocessing of nuclear fuel. At the same time, future generations will be spared the problem of accumulating spent nuclear fuel, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev said in a statement.

Rosatom hosts Small Modular Reactors Day at Dubai EXPO, several agreements signed

As part of its week-long programme “Breakthrough Technologies for a Sustainable Future” organised from January 17-24, 2022, at the ongoing EXPO 2020 in Dubai, the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom hosted a key event on January 20 titled Small Modular Reactors Day.  

The event was attended by Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev, World Nuclear Association head Sama Bilbao y Leon, as well as high-ranking representatives from international organisations, foreign governments and partner companies. United Arab Emirates (UAE) Atomic Energy Corporation Director General Mohamed Al-Hammadi and Russian Ambassador to the UAE Timur Zabirov were also among the attendees at the event. 

A Rosatom release said Small Modular Reactors Day was an international platform for discussing the benefits of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), the prospects for their development and how this technology can be applied around the world. The program opened with a multimedia show demonstrating the benefits of SMR-equipped nuclear power plants (NPPs) in a wide range of climates, while ensuring a stable supply of electricity and achieving decarbonisation goals. 

“For me personally, last year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow was a watershed moment. I literally felt the winds of change. Not just at COP26, but at all energy and climate conferences in 2021 it was clear that people were realising that a carbon-free future is impossible without the peaceful use of nuclear technology. It is impossible to achieve a stable, low-carbon energy system based only on variable energy sources. The role that nuclear energy can play in helping the world move away from hydrocarbons and meet our collective climate goals is now firmly in the public consciousness”, the Rosatom chief Likhachev said at the event, adding that the world is currently seeing favourable changes in the way nuclear energy is perceived. 

Answering questions during the panel discussion, Likhachev noted the advantages of SMR-based nuclear power plants. “Small modular reactors occupy a different niche. They supply power to remote regions, island states, countries with lower power needs or specific industrial projects, such as mining projects. There are other clear advantages of SMR technologies, including their modularity – the ability to quickly scale power up and down to meet demand – quicker construction periods and lower start-up costs”, he said.  

“Small modular reactors can provide energy and heat to areas where large-capacity nuclear power plants are either economically inaccessible or inappropriate due to geographic features or territorial restrictions, meaning they provide equal energy opportunities for people around the world. It seems to me that giving everyone access to low-carbon energy, especially in a world where almost a billion people still do not have such access, is a goal we must strive to achieve,” Likhachev added.  

Rosatom’s Director of Development and International Business, Kirill Komarov, noted that the company is not just offering conceptual technology, but is already successfully operating SMRs in Russia.  

“The floating power unit Akademik Lomonosov has been supplying the port city of Pevek in Russia’s Chukotka region with both electricity and heat for more than two years. We have also started developing our first land-based SMR nuclear power plant in Yakutia, which will be equipped with RITM-200N reactors and will be connected to the grid in 2028”, Komarov said.  

Nuclear Asia has earlier quoted Indian experts on how the much lesser cost of setting up SMRs, as compared to large NPPs, provides a major rationale for opting for small modular reactors. 

Elaborating on the current driving forces for SMRs, Sunil Ganju, who is Member of the Nuclear Controls and Planning Wing in India’s Department of Atomic Energy, has said that these include their wider applicability in non-power applications like for district heating and industrial operations, besides their higher safety quotient as compared to large reactors, involving the formers’ passive and inherent safety features. “The lower core power density of SMRs and the large volume of water in the reactor power vessel delays all accident progression”, Ganju said.  

At the SMR Day event in Dubai, representatives of governments, as well as of energy companies from Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines spoke about how SMRs could solve a wide range of national development problems. The head of PJSC Seligdar stressed that only SMRs were able to provide reliable energy supply at a predictable price for the company’s projects in northern Russia. 

According to Rosatom, several agreements were signed at the Small Modular Reactors Day event. These included a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation to construct SMR nuclear power plants signed by Rosatom and the Energy Ministry of the Kyrgyz Republic. Besides, subsidiary company Rusatom Overseas signed a cooperation agreement with the Armenian nuclear power plant, and a Memorandum of Intent with mining company PJSC Seligdar. 

There was also the virtual signing of a Joint Action Plan to develop nuclear power plants using SMR technology through a pre-feasibility study, the statement added.

Rosatom hosting “Breakthrough Technologies for a Sustainable Future” event at EXPO in Dubai

At the ongoing EXPO 2020 in Dubai, UAE, the Russian atomic energy corporation Rosatom is hosting a week-long programme titled “Breakthrough Technologies for a Sustainable Future” from January 17-24, 2022. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EXPO 2020 is currently being held between October 1, 2021, till March 31, 2022. 

According to a Rosatom release, the “Breakthrough Technologies for a Sustainable Future” programme will highlight a wide range of technologies and their applications – including the latest nuclear innovations – aimed at improving the quality of life and helping to tackle global social, economic and environmental challenges. 

The programme kicked off on January 17 with a discussion on the “Human-Centricity Index” and on promoting nuclear engineering education through international partnerships. Senior experts from Rosatom, DP World, the International Organisation of Employers, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Singularity University (USA), Khalifa University (UAE), Higher School of Economics (Russia), International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC), as well leading higher educational institutions of Russia, Italy and the UK participated in a series of events. 

With sustainable shipping as another key theme of the programme, the Northern Transit Corridor session on January 19 saw international experts, including representatives from Rosatom, DP World and the World Ocean Council, discuss the opportunities for commercial shipping along the Northern Sea Route and how to mitigate any impact on the Arctic environment. 

The session on “Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Construction in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Region: Prospects of Cooperation” on January 19 focused on current large-scale NPP projects in the MENA and regional cooperation in the nuclear sector to help implement nuclear power programmes in countries newly adopting nuclear technology.   

January 20, 2022, was designated as “Small Modular Reactors (SMR) Day”, while another event examined the advantages of this technology and how it could help bring low-carbon energy to the world’s most remote regions. Along with conventional NPPs, Rosatom is at the forefront of developing SMR technology. 

The “Net Zero: Achievement Points, Experience and Approaches” session on January 21 will be dedicated to decarbonisation – one of the biggest issues facing the world – and will review the outcomes of the UN Conference of Parties (COP26) meeting on climate change held recently in Glasgow, UK.  

The Rosatom statement said that during the event dedicated to decarbonisation, international experts will discuss climate regulation, the steps required to adopt and achieve net zero goals on carbon emission and green financing of low-carbon and sustainable energy, including in developing countries. 

Participants at the Rosatom event will also have the unique opportunity to take part in virtual tours of cutting-edge NPPs, including the Beloyarsk NPP, the only site with the world’s most powerful commercial fast-breeder reactor, the statement added. The virtual tours would include Russian nuclear plants using the Generation III+ VVER-1200 technology at the Novovoronezh and Leningrad NPPs, the world’s only operational floating NPP, and Rosatom fuel arm TVEL’s Machinery Manufacturing Plant responsible for nuclear fuel production. 

“Besides highlighting the applications of nuclear technology, ‘Breakthrough Technologies for a Sustainable Future’ week will showcase how other types of technology – including wind energy, composite materials and quantum computing – can help make sustainability a reality”, Rosatom said.  

“Rosatom’s philosophy is to make the transition to low-carbon energy and a sustainable economy more cost-effective for everyone. We’re looking forward to sharing how nuclear technologies and other innovations make an invaluable contribution to creating a sustainable future for the younger generations during our week of events”, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev said in a statement. 

The broadcast of the events will be available on the official ‘Rosatom Global’ YouTube channel. 

Manufacture of reactor, steam generators for India’s Kudankulam NPP starts in Russia

The manufacture of the nuclear reactor and steam generators for the sixth unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in India has started in Volgodonsk, Russia, at the facility of Atommash, a subsidiary of the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, according to an official statement.  

Rosatom is the technical consultant and equipment supplier for the 6 units of the KNPP being built by the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). NPCIL is also the operator of the KNPP, units 1 and 2 of which, equipped with VVER-1000 type reactors of 1,000 MW capacity each, have been connected to the grid in 2013 and 2016, respectively.   

A Rosatom statement earlier this week said the reactor and steam generator shells for unit 6 have passed the inspection, while the items are at the initial stage of the manufacturing cycle.  

“Preliminary work for anticorrosive overlay is being carried out on the flange and bottom of the reactor. At the welding unit, protective overlay is applied to the bodies of the primary circuit collector of the steam generator”, the statement said.  

“The reactor is an item of safety of the first class. It is a vertical cylindrical body with an elliptical bottom. The core and internals are located inside the vessel. The vessel is hermetically sealed from above with a cover with drives of mechanisms and control and protection bodies installed on it, as well as nozzles for the output of sensor cables for in-core monitoring”, it said.  

The steam generator is a heat exchanger and a part of the steam generating unit. Its diameter is more than 4 metres, length is about 14 metres, and weighs 340 tons. The set of one NPP power unit includes four steam generators, the statement added.  

For the KNPP units 5 and 6, Atommash will manufacture and supply two nuclear reactors of 1,000 MW capacity each with internals and an upper block of the VVER-1000 type, two sets of steam generators, reactor coolant pump set bodies, main circulation piping, emergency core cooling system tanks, passive core flooding system tanks and two pressurizers. The total weight of the items will be about 6,000 tons. 

The construction of unit 6 was officially launched on December 20, 2021, with the first concreting in the foundation slab of the reactor building at Kudankulam in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.  

The first concrete was poured into the foundation plate of the reactor building for the fifth unit of the KNPP on June 29, 2021, which marked the official commencement of the third phase of construction consisting of units 5 and 6. Phase 2 of the KNPP construction involving units 3 and 4, to be equipped similarly with the Russian-made VVER-1000 reactors of 1,000 MW capacity each, are currently at an advanced stage.  

“The third stage of the Kudankulam NPP will provide additional power capacity to ensure the industrial and commercial development of businesses in the Tamil Nadu region and the Republic of India as a whole; moreover, it will promote more confidence in our friendly countries’ prospects to expand peaceful nuclear cooperation by using the most advanced projects of high-capacity nuclear power units of Russian design”, Rosatom arm ASE’s Vice-President for Projects in India and Prospective Projects, Andrey Lebedev, said in a statement last month.   

The Kudankulam NPP units meet the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safety requirements and the VVER-1000 reactors are equipped with state-of-the-art safety features. 

Largest container terminals in Azov-Black Sea region switch fully to wind energy

In a landmark development on the New Year for Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom’s renewable energy business, its wind power division, NovaWind, began supplying wind-generated electricity to DeloPorts from January 1, 2022, with the latter switching its KSK and NUTEP container terminals to electricity generated fully at wind farms. 

KSK and NUTEP, thus, became the first large port infrastructure facilities in Russia to completely switch to renewable energy, a Rosatom statement said. The annual handling capacity of NUTEP is 700 thousand TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), while the capacity of the KSK grain terminal is up to 7 million tons.  

According to NovaWind, the potential reduction in CO2 emissions due to NUTEP and KSK switching to wind energy is likely to amount to 6.8 and 5.7 thousand tons of CO2 per year, respectively, as compared to traditional natural gas generation.  

The agreement to power the largest terminals in the Azov-Black Sea region of Russia with wind energy was signed in April 2021 between Russia’s largest transport and logistics holding Management Company Delo and Rosatom subsidiary Atomenergoprom.  

“Rosatom is consistently implementing a strategy for low-carbon energy production based on nuclear and wind power generation. NovaWind contributes to reducing carbon footprint in the Russian energy sector and provides partners with additional tools to achieve sustainable development goals”, NovaWind Deputy CEO for Development and International Business, Grigory Nazarov, said in a statement.  

DeloPorts CEO Igor Yakovenko said: “On January 1, 2022, our terminals shifted to electricity generated from wind. The ‘green port’ project is still a work in progress. This is especially important in view of plans to modernise our enterprises: their productivity will go up, while the environmental impact will decrease.” 

According to Rosatom, the “green port” project will enable the use of electricity generated from low-carbon energy sources to facilitate exports from the Russia with minimal CO2 emissions, which, in turn, will affect the reduction in NUTEP and KSK’s estimate indicators in reporting on indirect greenhouse gas emissions and other indirect carbon emissions for their customers. Depending on the methodology adopted by the European Union (EU), the indicators could reduce the “carbon tax” on exports to the EU for Russian exporters.

Fuel loading starts in unit 2 of first nuclear power plant in Belarus

Fuel loading has started in unit 2 of the first nuclear power plant (NPP) in Belarus, according to an official statement.  The first fuel assembly was loaded into the second unit’s reactor core beginning in the last week of December 2021, and totally 163 fuel assemblies will be loaded into the reactor.  

The 1,200 MW first unit of the Belarus NPP, equipped with the state-of-the-art VVER-1200 reactor and being built with the assistance of the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, started commercial operations in June 2021. The Belarus NPP located at Ostrovets, thus, became the first VVER-1200 project to be successfully completed outside Russia. 

The fuel was manufactured by Rosatom’s fuel arm, TVEL, at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant in Siberia. Each of the fuel assemblies measures about 4 metres in length and weighs 571 kilograms. Once they are in place and the reactor pressure vessel is sealed, the unit may be brought to criticality and power gradually raised to the minimum 1 percent level. 

“The most interesting, exciting and responsible period of construction of the nuclear power unit is its commissioning after the completion of a huge amount of construction and installation work. At this stage, cubic metres of concrete, tons of metal structures, kilometres of cable and pipelines turn into a living organism that will function and benefit people for at least 60 years”, Rosatom’s engineering arm ASE Group President Alexander Lokshin said. ASE Group is the designer and general contractor of the Belarus NPP project. 

The Belarus Minister of Energy Viktor Karankevich said at a press conference last month that the first unit at the Ostrovets NPP already generates 22 percent of the country’s electricity, displacing 1.6 billion cubic metres of gas. The second unit is expected to double this achievement in energy security and decarbonisation. Karankevich also said that Belarus had upgraded substations and high-voltage power lines to make sure energy from the Ostrovets NPP reaches every part of the country. 

Last month, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission found that Belarus has significantly strengthened its regulatory nuclear safety framework over the past five years. 

The IAEA had arranged for an Integrated Regulatory Review Service team to spend nine days at Ostrovets to review how plant managers had implemented recommendations and suggestions of an initial visit in 2016. The mission focused on the Ostrovets plant, but took account of all Belarusian nuclear regulation, including that for industrial and medical uses of radioisotopes. 

“Belarus has made considerable improvements in its regulatory framework for safety since the 2016 mission and shows a strong commitment to nuclear and radiation safety,” said Anna Hajduk Bradford, director of the IAEA Nuclear Installation Safety Division.  

Belarus has “made progress in developing and implementing the regulatory framework for emergency preparedness and response … including the establishment of the emergency response centre in 2017 and the holding of complex emergency exercises”, the IAEA said.  

The VVER-1200 reactor has a number of advantages when compared to the previous generation VVER-1000 reactor, including a unique combination of active and passive safety systems that make equipped NPPs maximally resistant to external and internal influences. VVER-1200 power units are equipped with a “core catcher” – a device designed to contain and cool the melt of the reactor core in the event of a hypothetical accident – as well as other passive safety systems capable of operating without the participation of personnel in the event of a complete power outage. “In addition, the generation III+ design has increased the reactor’s capacity by 20 percent, reduced the number of maintenance personnel, and doubled the unit’s lifespan from 30 to 60 years, with the possibility of a twenty-year extension”, Rosatom has said. 

Currently, three reactors of this type are successfully operating in Russia – two at the Novovoronezh NPP and one at the Leningrad NPP. The fourth such reactor – unit 6 of the Leningrad NPP – reached 100 percent capacity on January 3, 2021. The VVER-1200 reactor is also a backbone of the Rosatom export order book consisting of 36 units across 12 markets, including Finland, Hungary, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Bangladesh. 

According to Rosatom, the safety system of the twin-unit plant in Belarus has been “fully endorsed” by the IAEA, which concluded that the design parameters account for site-specific external hazards, such as earthquakes, floods and extreme weather, as well as human-induced events, and that measures have been taken to address challenges related to external events in light of lessons from the

The Fukushima accident was caused by the tsunami that hit the coast of Japan in 2011. 

The IAEA has already conducted seven of the missions to the Belarus plant that it recommends for countries building their first NPP. In 2017-2018, Belarus voluntarily agreed to conduct the European Union nuclear safety stress tests, and had the results reviewed by the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG), which had given the tests an “overall positive” mark. In March last year, the ENSREG approved the preliminary report on the peer review of the Belarusian plant. 

According to Rosatom, once fully completed, the twin unit 2,400 MW Belarus NPP is expected to supply about 18 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of low-carbon electricity to the country’s national grid every year. 

Concreting completed of inner containment of unit 2 in Bangladesh’s first nuclear plant

Concreting of the fifth tier of the inner containment of the reactor building at unit 2 of Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant (NPP) at Rooppur has been completed, according to a statement by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom. 

Rosatom, the equipment supplier and technical consultant for the project, is building two VVER-1200 units of 1,200 MW capacity each at Rooppur located on the eastern bank of the river Ganges. 

A Rosatom statement said that on December 24, 2021, it took the specialists of Trest Rossem 23 hours of uninterrupted work to cast 850 cubic metres of self-compacting concrete mix.  

“Concreting of the fifth tier of the inner containment from elevation +38.180 to elevation+43.400 was completed significantly ahead of schedule”, Rosatom subsidiary ASE Vice President and Rooppur NPP Construction Project Director, Alexey Deriy, said in a statement. 
“This is a testament of the high professional level of the specialists of Trest Rossem in Bangladesh and a good example of well-coordinated work of the entire team at the construction site”, he added. 
Concreting of the fifth tier completes the construction of the cylindrical part of the inner containment that is one of the main components of the NPP reactor safety system which prevents release of radioactive substances into the environment. 
The dome of the power unit will be installed on the inner containment in the next phase, the statement said.  
Currently, works are in progress for manufacturing of elements for the containment dome part. It is planned to complete the erection of steel structures of the inner containment dome in the first half of 2022, the statement added.  

In June 2020, a truss, or support structure, for the second unit reactor of the Rooppur NPP was installed. The support truss is one of the most important elements of the equipment of the reactor pit, and is designed to reliably fasten the reactor vessel and protect it from weight and seismic loads. 

The installation of the reactor pressure vessel for unit 1 at Rooppur was completed in October 2021. A Rosatom statement said that installation of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) weighing more than 334 tonnes started on September 14, 2021, and was completed on October 10, when it was inaugurated at a formal ceremony attended by Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev, and which was witnessed via video link by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. 

Both the latest generation III+ 1,200 MW power units at the Rooppur NPP, located 160 km from the capital Dhaka, will be equipped with active as well as passive safety systems, including molten core catchers. This evolutionary reactor design fully complies with all the international safety requirements, the statement said.

‘Nuclear power should be a part of India’s green energy journey’

India should increase its share of nuclear power in its quest towards having green power as renewable power is intermittent and costly, according to experts  participating at a videoconference.

They also said strategies based on carbon cost will push up the power costs and India should also get rid of the mindset that policy will be driven by the vendors.

The views were expressed at the video conference where the interim report on ‘India’s Energy Transition in a Carbon-Constrained World: The Role of Nuclear Power’ of the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) was released.

If India wants green power, then it needs larger power generation as currently various sectors are powered by different kinds of fuels. So the share of electricity in the total energy basket has to go up, said Dr Anil Kakodkar, former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, and ex-Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy.

He said the country must recognise that one should not lose perspective that for a large amount of green power, there is no alternative to nuclear power.

According to Kakodkar, it is not possible for the country to completely get out of fossil energy as there are severe technological issues with hydrogen, battery and solar power.

According to India’s former Ambassador to Iran, D.P. Srivastava, the cost of decarbonisation of the economy will be very high.

He said if nuclear energy is factored into the green power effort, then the costs will be optimised.

Pointing out that renewable power is intermittent and has to be backed up by a stable power source, Srivastava added that nuclear power should be given the must-run status on par with renewables.

He also said if carbon cost, or pricing, is applied, then the power costs will go up steeply.

Srivastava said if carbon cost is introduced in India through the backdoor by way of bilaterals and exclusive reliance on renewable power, then the costs will go up.

TVEL launches facility to make TVS-K fuel for pressurised water reactors

Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom’s fuel arm, TVEL Fuel Company (TVEL), has launched the new fabrication facility for manufacturing the TVS-Kvadrat (TVS-K) nuclear fuel for pressurised water reactors (PWRs) at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrates Plant located in Siberia.    

A Rosatom statement earlier this week said the new facility will enable TVEL to supply various modifications of its TVS-K fuel to nuclear power plants (NPPs) around the world that are powered by PWR reactors. 

“Taking into account the long-time experience in development of nuclear fuel fabrication in Russia, this project has been accomplished using the most advanced up-to-date equipment and technologies with wide application of digital solutions”, the statement said.  

The TVS-K draws on TVEL’s experience in the development, manufacture and operation of nuclear fuel for Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactors of the kind being installed at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in India’s Tamil Nadu state, units 1 and 2 of which, having 1,000 MW generation capacity each, are already connected to the grid. Construction is underway of 4 additional units of 1,000 MW capacity each.   

“The referent operation experience, as well the post-irradiation studies confirm the designed properties of the Russian PWR fuel. TVS-K introduction to the global market will enable diversification of PWR fuel supplies not only by supplier, but also by technology. The Russian fuel has an original genesis, including construction materials, the approach to fuel matrix manufacturing, etc. TVS-K fuel is based on Russian technical solutions, which are not subject to export control restrictions of other countries”, said TVEL Fuel Company President, Natalia Nikipelova. 

The TVS-K fuel has been developed by TVEL, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, for Western-designed PWRs. In 2016, the company signed a contract with Swedish utility Vattenfall to supply TVS-K fuel for the Ringhals NPP. In 2020, an experimental batch of TVS-K completed its operation cycle in the PWR-900 reactor at unit 3 of  Ringhals. The irradiated fuel was sent to the Studsvik Science Centre in Sweden for post-irradiation studies, the main phase of which was completed in October 2021. 

According to the company, every sixth power reactor in the world is powered by TVEL fuel. TVEL provides fuel to a total of 75 power reactors in 15 countries, research reactors in nine countries, as well as to the transport reactors of the Russian nuclear fleet.