Reactor vessel, generators for unit 5 of India’s Kudankulam plant shipped from Russia

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The reactor pressure vessel and four steam generators for the fifth unit of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KNPP) located in India’s Tamil Nadu state have been shipped from Russia, according to a statement by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom.  

The Rosatom machine building division Atomenergomash’s engineering arm AEM Technologies shipped these key components to KNPP on April 21, 2023, the statement said.  

The reactor pressure vessel is the heart of a nuclear power plant. It contains the nuclear fuel assemblies which produce heat and forms part of the primary coolant circuit. It also contains provisions for sensors and moving parts such as control rods.   

The statement said the products will be delivered to a special berth by road. After being loaded on barges, the sets of equipment will be transported through waterways to the seaport of Saint Petersburg, and then the cargo will be delivered to India by sea. 

Rosatom is the equipment supplier and technical consultant for the KNPP, India’s largest nuclear plant operated by the state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India. Its units 1 and 2 of 1,000 MW capacity each, started commercial operations in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The construction is underway of four more Russian designed VVER-1000 type units at Kudankulam – 3, 4, 5 and 6 – also of 1,000 MW capacity each.    

“Russia has been consistently developing international trade and economic relations by focusing on cooperation with friendly countries. In spite of external restrictions, the domestic economy builds export capacity, supplies goods, services and raw materials throughout the world,” the statement added.  

The pressuriser for the KNPP’s unit 5 was shipped from Russia in early April 2023. The pressuriser is a part of the primary circuit equipment of the reactor and is responsible for creating and maintaining pressure and coolant volume. It is used to limit pressure fluctuations in transient and emergency modes during the operation of a nuclear plant.   

A trial assembly of the internals of the reactor pressure vessel, which has been shipped for the KNPP’s fifth unit, was successfully undertaken in January this year at the company’s Volgodonsk plant in Russia.  The trial assembly, in which the products completely replicate their design position, significantly reduces the time taken to install the reactor at the nuclear plant construction site and simplifies the process of its installation too.