Core catcher installation under way at Rooppur 1

20 August 2018

Installation has begun of the core catcher - a passive safety system - for unit 1 of the Rooppur nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced.

The core catcher for the second VVER under construction at Ostravets in Belarus (Image: AEM-Technology)

A core catcher is a device provided to catch the molten core material - corium - of a reactor in the unlikely event of a meltdown, preventing it from escaping the containment building. The first such device was installed at the Tianwan nuclear power plant in China, which was constructed by Russia.

"This is a unique protection system of the nuclear power plant and the first large-size equipment that is being installed in the reactor building," said Alexander Khazin, Rosatom's senior vice-president of overseas projects. "It weighs about 200 tonnes. According to the schedule, the installation will be completed in six months."

Two 1200 MWe VVER-1200 units are being built at Rooppur, which is on the eastern bank of the river Ganges at Rooppur, 160 km from Dhaka.

Rosatom in February 2011 signed an agreement for two 1000 MWe-class reactors to be built at Rooppur for the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission. The initial contract for the project, worth USD12.65 billion, was signed in December 2015. The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority issued the first site licence for the Rooppur plant in June 2016, allowing preliminary site works, including geological surveys, to begin.

First concrete for unit 1 was poured in November 2017, while that at unit 2 was poured last month.

The reactors will use "a unique combination of active and passive safety systems that ensure maximum stability against external and internal factors," Rosatom said.

The VVER-1200 reactor design has already been implemented at Novovoronezh II in Russia, where the first unit of that design - a development from the VVER-1000 - entered commercial operation in February 2017. JSC AtomStroyExport, a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, is the general construction contractor.

Rooppur unit 1 is scheduled to begin operation in 2023, with unit 2 following in 2024.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News