Unit 5 of Russia’s Novovoronezh NPP has been shut down for 260 days so that modernization works can be carried out to extend its operating life for an additional 30 years.
Novovoronezh 5, which stated up in 1979, is Russia’s oldest VVER-1000 reactor and the first of that type to undergo such an operating life extension. The unit shut on 25 September 2010, after its operating licence expired.
Works will include: modernization of reactor management and protection systems, emergency reactor core cooling and emergency power supply, active components of security systems and radiation safety systems. Supplemental security, standard operation, and equipment diagnositc systems will also be installed.
Preparation works for the operating life extension were started in 2003. During 2003-2010, various studies were carried out including an evaluation of security, feasibility surveys, and studies on the remaining equipment life. These were put together in a report: ‘Program on preparation of NV NPP power unit No. 5 operating life extension’. That report, together with an in-depth safety assessment confirms the safety of the extended power operation.
What will induce the end of the uranium era? It is highly unlikely that this will be anything to do with a shortage of uranium. Even if prices have to rise substantially to induce the required level of supply, nuclear economics can withstand the impact.