Russia brings BN-800 to minimum controlled power again

11 November 2015

Rosenergoatom announced today that unit 4 of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant in the Sverdlovsk district of Russia had for the third time been brought to the minimum controlled power level. The country's nuclear power plant operator said the BN-800 fast neutron reactor had achieved this at 10.10pm local time yesterday.

Beloyarsk 4 - BN800 - 460 (Rosatom)
Beloyarsk 4 (Image: Rosatom)

On 9 November, Russian regulator Rostechnadzor approved Rosenrgoatom's amendments to the unit's operating licence, thus giving its permission to start the unit. Staff at the Beloyarsk plant prepared 5540 sets of documents to support the application for these changes to be accepted, Rosenergoatom said.

The start-up procedure includes an increase in the unit's power level from the 1% of nominal capacity achieved through physical start-up to the level at which power generation can start, at 35%, and then to the level that ensures readiness for pilot operation, namely 50%.

"All these operations involve a large range of inspections and tests at various stages in the increase to the power level, as well as testing and revision of various items of equipment," Rosenergoatom said. "It is necessary to confirm the reliability and safety of the power unit for further operation. For example, the planned revision under the 'power start-up' phase alone takes 30-40 days. Once the reactor power level of 30-35% of nominal capacity has been achieved, the first turbine generator unit can be started, because that is the level required to produce enough steam to run the turbines and ensure its normal operation," it said.

Then the long process of gradually increasing the unit's power to its nominal capacity of 800 MWe will follow, Rosenergoatom said.

In August, unit 4 was for the second time brought to the minimum controlled power level, moving it a step closer to starting commercial operation. It was first brought to minimum controlled power in June 2014, with the start of operation planned for the end of that year. But in December Rosenergoatom announced that nuclear fuel for the unit would first be developed further. The company then said the unit was expected to start operations before the end of this year.

Pyotr Gavrilov, the director general of Mining and Chemical Combine, which like Rosenergoatom is a subsidiary of Rosatom, said in September that the enterprise's mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication facility will increase its annual production of fuel assemblies from 20 this year to 400 in 2017. These will be the first nuclear fuel assemblies for Beloyarsk 4, he said.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News