Ukraine's Energoatom looks ahead to Rovno 3 life extension

19 August 2015

Work is under way at the Rovno nuclear power plant in Ukraine to apply to extend the operating life of unit 3. Ukraine's State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate (SNRI) issued 20-year operating life extensions for units 1 and 2 nearly five years ago.

Energoatom said today that work to qualify for the licence includes upgrading or replacing thermal mechanical equipment, monitoring and control systems, the introduction of new diagnostic systems for reactor installations and a seismicity monitoring system at the Rovno site. Energoatom operates all of Ukraine's 15 nuclear units in commercial operation at four sites, Khmelnitsky, Rovno, South Ukraine and Zaporozhe.

"The report will culminate in a periodic safety assessment that confirms the operation of the unit is in line with the upgrade project and complies with the parameters and conditions of its safe operation, with reconstruction and modernization measures developed to increase its level of security," Energoatom said. "SNRI will then use this assessment to decide whether or not to extend the life of the unit." Full consideration of the local community is being shown during the work, it said.

Work to produce the report on unit 3 will not prevent its continued safe operation, Energoatom said.

In a separate statement, the state-run company said that the turbogenerator of unit 1 had been reconnected to the grid following maintenance work, while unit 4 is on its 30th day of a scheduled maintenance outage.

The Rovno plant has generated more than 744 gigawatts hours of electricity since the beginning of August and almost 11.5 terawatt hours since the start of the year.

The 2835 MWe plant consists of four soviet-designed VVER units – units 1 and 2 are of the VVER-440 type and started operations in 1980 and 1981, respectively; units 3 and 4 are VVER-1000 reactors that have been in service since 1986 and 2004, according to Energoatom.

The original design lifetime of the Russian reactors was 30 years. Energoatom initially planned to extend the lifetimes of Rovno 1 and 2 as well as unit 1 of its South Ukraine plant by 15 years and final checking of the pressure vessels (for embrittlement) and the internals of all three units took place in 2008-9.

SNRI granted the 20-year extension of the operating licences for Rovno 1 and 2 in December 2010. Energoatom said that more than $300 million had been invested in upgrading the two units since 2004, in collaboration with the International Atomic Energy Agency. In mid-2012 Energoatom announced that the 11 oldest 1000 MWe reactors are to have 20-year life extensions by 2030. In February 2013, SNRC said that South Ukraine 1 could have a life extension after a major upgrade during 2013, and in October it approved plans for a ten-year extension to 2023. In May 2015 South Ukraine 2 was shut for major upgrading over 300 days costing $114 million to enable a ten-year life extension. During the same month, Energoatom applied for a 15-year licence extension for Zaporozhe 1.

In March 2013, the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) announced a €300 million ($331 million) loan for comprehensive reactor safety upgrading to the end of 2017, matching €300 million from Euratom. The €1.4 billion ($1.55 billion) project will include up to 87 safety measures addressing design safety issues comprising the replacement of equipment in safety relevant systems, improvements of instrumentation and control for safety relevant systems and the introduction of organisational improvements for accident management.

Earlier this month, Energoatom said it had postponed the completion target date for the program to improve the safety of its nuclear power plants from 2017 to the end of 2020. It said the postponement is due to the delayed entry into force of the EBRD and Euratom loan agreements following a change of government in Ukraine. Signed in August 2013 and ratified by the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, in May 2014, the agreements with the EBRD and Euratom finally entered into force on 19 December 2014 and 28 May 2015, respectively.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News