Russian fast reactor upgrade work completed

02 November 2022

Workers from Rosatom subsidiary Ural Atomenergoremont (UralAER) have completed an overhaul of major components at unit 3 of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant in the Sverdlovsk district of Russia. The BN-600 fast reactor began operating in 1981.

The Beloyarsk 3 BN-600 (Image: Rosenergoatom)

A large-scale modernisation programme has been under way at the unit since 2009 and has involved all areas of safety, Rosatom's plant operator subsidiary, Rosenergoatom, said. This has included the installation of a second reactor emergency protection system, an emergency dampening system using an air heat exchanger and a back-up reactor control panel. In addition, a large amount of work has been carried out on the inspection and replacement of equipment, including the replacement of the unit's steam generators.

The unit has three steam generators, each of which consists of eight sections. Each section includes three modules: a vaporiser, a main steam heater and an intermediate steam heater. The modularity of the design makes it possible to quickly replace elements and without stopping the reactor.

Repair work, including work within the framework of the unit's modernisation and service life extension programme, was recently completed. Over a 75-day period, workers upgraded the steam generator PG-5 with the replacement of eight evaporator modules and one superheater module.

In addition, a major overhaul of the turbine and generator No.6 was carried out, a technical examination of the heat exchange equipment of the high-pressure heater 5PVD-5.7 and the low-pressure heater 4.5PND-2.

"Repair of Unit 3 has been completed, and with it a lengthy repair campaign that lasted almost 4 months at the units of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant," said UralAER Chief Engineer Aleksey Solovyov. "The staff coped with their task perfectly, once again confirming high level of qualification, ability to work and cohesion of the team. 170 additional people from other branches of JSC Atomenergoremont were seconded to carry out the assigned tasks for the repair of unit No.3."

He added: "Over the next two years, at power unit No 3, we will have to perform a similar amount of work to replace the modules of the steam generators of the 4th and 6th loops. The experience gained during the past repair will certainly be used in the further planning of these works in order to achieve the target indicators for the duration of the repair."

The sodium-cooled BN-series fast reactor plans are part of Rosatom's Proryv, or 'Breakthrough', project to develop fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle whose mixed oxide (MOX) fuel will be reprocessed and recycled. In addition to the BN-600 reactor, the 789 MWe BN-800 fast neutron reactor - constructed as Beloyarsk unit 4 - entered commercial operation in October 2016. This is essentially a demonstration unit for fuel and design features for the larger BN-1200 being developed by OKBM Afrikantov.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News