Reactor vessel, steam generator shipment despatched for Bangladesh's first nuclear plant

The first reactor vessel and steam generator for Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant (NPP), being constructed at Rooppur, have been shipped out from Russia in late August, the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, who are the equipment suppliers and technical consultants for the project, has announced.

A Rosatom statement said the Rooppur NPP consists of two units with a capacity of 1,200 MW each, and the first unit will start working in 2023, while the second one will be operational in 2024. “A VVER-1200 reactor and a steam generator, manufactured at the Atomenergomash (Rosatom subsidiary) plant in Volgodonsk, the largest nuclear engineering production site in Russia, were shipped to the NPP construction site”, it said.

“Despite a number of restrictions due to the coronavirus, we managed to ship the first reactor vessel for the Rooppur NPP according to the contractual obligations. Further, our equipment has a long way to go – it will travel another 14,000 kilometers by sea to be at the construction site of the first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh by the end of this year”, Atomenergomash Director General Andrei Nikipelov said.

Rosatom said nuclear power plants based on the VVER-1200 reactor are characterized by an unprecedented level of safety, which allows them to be classified as Generation 3+. “This has been achieved by the introduction of new ‘passive’ safety systems, which are able to function without operator intervention even when the station is completely de-energised. The life cycle of the reactors is 60 years with the possibility of further extension,” the statement said.

The transportation of massive equipment – the reactor vessel weighs 333.6 tons, while the steam generator is 340 tons – is a complex logistic operation. The reactor vessel and the steam generator were separately transported by special automotive equipment to the pier of the Tsimlyansk water reservoir in Volgodonsk, in order to then sail to Novorossiysk, and from there – via the Black Sea and the Suez Canal – to the construction site on the east bank of the Padma river about 160 km from the Bangladesh capital Dhaka.

“For the two power units of the Rooppur NPP, Atomenergomash will manufacture over 14 types of equipment, including equipment for the reactor building – reactor vessels, sets of steam generators, main circulation pipelines, main circulation pumps, pressure compensation system equipment, emergency cooling systems and passive protection of the core – among others, as well as equipment for the turbine hall building – high-pressure heaters, vacuum, condensate and feed pumps, equipment for separation systems and reheating of the turbine unit. In total, during 2018-2022, over 13,000 tons of unique equipment will be manufactured and shipped,” the statement added.