Startup plan at Kalinin 3

1 October 2003

Construction of the third unit at Kalinin was halted in the late 1980s, when it was nearly complete. But work restarted and now the plant will be operating within months. By Judith Perera

The Kalinin nuclear power plant is situated in the city of Udomlya, in the Tver (formerly Kalinin) region some 330km northwest of Moscow and 400km southeast of St Petersburg. The site directly adjoins the southern shore of Lake Udomlya, which is connected to Lake Pesivo by a natural channel.

The plant has two third-generation small-series VVER-1000/338s commissioned in 1984 and 1986, with a third unit due for commissioning in 2004. Its general designer is the Nizhny Novgorod section of Institute Teploelectroproekt. The general designer of the reactor unit is the

experimental design office Gidropress based in Podolsk near Moscow. The turbines were designed by the Kharkov

Turbine Works (now Industrial Amalgamation Turboatom) in Ukraine. Scientific supervision is offered by the Kurchatov Institute and the Russian Research Institute of Nuclear Power Plants (VNIIAES).

Units 1 and 2 each have four coolant circulating loops with main circulation pumps (MCP), a pressuriser and steam generators. The reactor and its auxiliary systems are situated in a sealed containment 47.4m in diameter and 76m high. The containment is pre-stressed (spiral wound) reinforced ferro-concrete. The turbine hall is common for both units. Main and auxiliary buildings, structures and outdoor switchyards are contained within a secure area, closed to general access.

The reactors have a three-tier safety system, each level functioning independently. These include automatic shutdown

of reactor in face of minor aberrations in main equipment operation; sealed containment encompassing all reactor equipment; and the ability of the reactor for self-regulation.

The PGV-1000 steam generator is a one-body horizontal type heat exchanger with immersed tube bundle. It is designed for the production of dry saturated steam from secondary circuit water. Kalinin is the only nuclear power plant of the former Soviet Union whose steam generators have been in operation for more than 100,000 hours without replacement.

The K-1000-60/1500 turbine is a steam condensing,

single-shaft, five-cylinder machine with rated capacity of 1100MW and rotation speed of 1500rpm. The turbine has no regulated steam bleed-off with separation and single two-stage steam reheat (by bleed and fresh steam). The turbine serves as the drive for the TVV10004UZ electric generator with an output of 1000MWe and 24kV.

Electricity from Kalinin is supplied to Moscow, St Petersburg and Vladimir through three 750kV transmission lines, and also to Tver through two 330 kV transmission lines. A new 750kV line is under construction to supply Cherepovets. By the end of 2001, Kalinin had generated a total of 176.9TWh of electricity. This included 14TWh in 2001, when the average load factor was 80% and the availability factor 80.4%.


Kalinin was originally intended to have four units. A third unit was almost completed when progress stalled in the late 1980s in the face of economic, technical and environmental difficulties. However, construction resumed in December 1997 with installation of the reactor vessel after nuclear utility Rosenergoatom (REA) accepted recommendations for changes to the plans made by the Ministry of Natural Resources (now responsible for environmental issues).

Between 1998 and 2001, programmes designed to enhance technical and nuclear performance, ecological safety, accident prevention and security were put into action. The state of the equipment, the pipelines and buildings were thoroughly checked. The project was brought into line with current ecological and building standards. A licence to restart construction was granted in June 2000.

The unit is now scheduled for physical start-up in December 2003 and connection to the grid in April 2004. Unit 3 is the priority construction project in Minatom's nuclear development plans. By 2002, R1 billion ($33 million) had already been spent and another R3.1 billion ($102 million) had been allocated to complete the construction. Progress was delayed briefly in 2002 because of a conflict between REA and Neftyanoy bank over their respective shares in Sevzapatomenergostroi (Northwest Atomic Energy Construction - SZA), the main contractor for the Kalinin project. The problem was resolved following mediation by the Tver regional authorities. In 2003, Minatom allocated R11 billion ($362 million) for the final stage of the work. REA has prepared the documents needed to apply to Gosatomnadzor (GAN) for an operating licence.

Construction of the fourth unit was cancelled in 1991, pending a new ecological examination after the Ecology Committee rejected the plans, but in 2002 Minatom and the Tver regional administration agreed to continue with the project and the unit is now to be commissioned in 2009.

A formal agreement to that effect was reached in 2003. However, construction is not expected to start until partly built units at other plants have been completed.


The Ecology Committee insisted that certain problems, including water supply, must be solved before unit 3, a VVER-1000/320, could be commissioned. Units 1 and 2 are cooled using water from the Pesivo-Udomlya natural lake system. Water levels are regulated through a dyke on the Syezha river that flows out of Lake Udomlya. The water from the cooling-water lakes is supplied to the unit pumping stations (BNS) situated on the shore of Lake Udomlya. Each unit has its own BNS with four circulating water pumps and a system of consumer pumps. Water is pumped to turbine condensers and turbine-driven feedwater pumps through four steel pipes. Heated circulating water is discharged into an outdoor wasteway that flows into Lake Pesivo.

Unit 3 was originally designed to use groundwater, raising fears that this could cause subsidence. There was also concern over possible groundwater contamination. To address these problems and to reduce the thermal influence on the lakes, two cooling towers have been built and will be commissioned at the same time as unit 3. They will serve all three units as a first stage of cooling before using the water from the lakes. When unit 4 is commissioned a further two towers will be built.

Kalinin also has a personnel training centre with a full-scale simulator for unit 3, built at the Russian Research

Institute of Nuclear Power Plants (VNIIAES) in Moscow. However, the simulator does not take account of the upgrades introduced into the third unit and requires some modification.

In 1990, a system for solidifying liquid radioactive waste using bitumen was installed. Liquid radwaste is stored in reservoirs (an interim stage of storage before conditioning). All storage parameters are monitored constantly. The waste is then is bituminised for final disposal. The resulting non-radioactive salt solutions are disposed of in deep injection wells. Between 1990 and 1998 liquid radioactive waste generation has been reduced by almost seven times.

Solid radioactive waste is collected and stored on site. Facilities for waste conditioning are being installed, including a complex of sorting, pressing, burning and ash melting plants as well as a storage complex with transporting and placing equipment. Underground low-level waste storage has been in operation since December 1986 and an above-ground low-level waste storage has been in operation since June 1998 (constructed over an existing store).

Spent nuclear fuel is cooled in storage pools located in scaled containments for three years, according to the design and is then sent to Krasnoyarsk by rail for processing and storage. An interim spent fuel store has been in operation since 1984.

Radiation monitoring is undertaken by a laboratory that is a part of the Kalinin radiation safety department, and by the state sanitary inspectorate on site as well as within the 30km observation area. A system of automated monitoring (ASKRO) is being developed and introduced. The main observation post is located on site with 12 gamma radiation dose rate monitoring sensors (gamma-tracers) installed in the observation area which transmit information directly to the central post.

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