Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin has won a contract to install reactor containment filtration systems at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant in Romania. The equipment is to be supplied by Areva of France.
The two Candu 6 units at Cernavoda began operation in 1996 and 2007, and are operated by Romanian state nuclear power corporation Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN). Engineering and procurement activities under the C$48 million ($48 million) contract are to begin immediately, according to SNC-Lavalin, with preparations for the work to be carried out during the next unit outages and a completion date scheduled for late 2013. SNC-Lavalin's announcement was followed by one from Areva, noting that it had been awarded a contract to provide its filtered containment venting systems (FCVS) for the two Romanian units as part of a global cooperation agreement between the two companies for Candu-specific reactor designs.
"This project is part of an industry-wide upgrade strategy for nuclear plant safety in the event of serious accidents or natural disasters, such as those that occurred at Fukushima in Japan"
The FCVS is used to prevent the build up of excessive pressure in a reactor containment in the event of a severe accident leading to the reactor core melt and the partial or total incapacitation of safety systems. The system enables pressure to be reduced using a filtered system that retains and recirculates airborne radioactivity within containment and operates passively, without the need for a power supply. Areva's modular design FCVS has already been installed in over 50 nuclear plants around the world, the company noted.
The system uses wet scrubbing technology followed by dry metal fibre filters to capture activity, allowing hydrogen to be safely released from the containment while minimising environmental contamination risks. The build-up of hydrogen gas was responsible for the explosions that dramatically wrecked reactor buildings at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011, while venting operations resulted in the atmospheric release of radioisotopes including caesium and iodine. Areva's FCVS system lays claim to a maximum retention rate for aerosols of over 99.9%, and for iodine of over 99.5%.
"The units at the Cernavoda plant are rated among the best in Europe and this project is part of an industry-wide upgrade strategy for nuclear plant safety in the event of serious accidents or natural disasters, such as those that occurred at Fukushima in Japan," said SNC-Lavalin executive vice-president Patrick Lamarre, adding that the contract "leverages SNC-Lavalin Nuclear's expertise in nuclear power plant retrofits and in executing projects with challenging logistics."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News