Installation of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) for unit 1 of the Belarus NPP was completed on 1 April, Russian equipment supplier Atomstroyexport (AES) said last week.
The 330t RPV was lifted into place using the polar crane inside the containment, according to AES (part of state nuclear corporation Rosatom). Work can now begin on the installation of the main circulation pumps and pipelines, a statement said. Two 1109MWe Russian VVER-1200 reactor units are under construction at the plant in Ostrovets near the border with Lithuania. Construction of unit 1 began in November 2013 and of unit 2 in April 2014. An intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Belarus was signed in March 2011 for cooperation in the construction of the nuclear power plant in Belarus. Unit 1 is scheduled to begin operation for November 2018 and unit 2 in July 2020.
The RPV for unit 1 was originally shipped to the site in October 2015, but workers dropped it during a trial installation in August 2016. Rosatom subsidiaries OKB Gidropress and Atomstroyexport carried out an inspection of the RPV and sent the results the Belarus Nuclear Power Plant Company and to Belarus regulator Gosatomnadzor (the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry). Although the RPV was found to be "absolutely functional", Rosatom's then director-general Sergey Kirienko agreed to its replacement at no additional cost to the customer, other than for its transport to the site. The RPV manufactured for unit 2 was delivered to the site at the end of 2016 and was used for unit 1.
Manufacture of equipment for unit 2 is continuing. Russia’s Atomenergomash (AEM), Rosatom’s the power engineering division said on 9 April that it had completed the production of a set of steam generators for unit 2. The set, consisting of four steam generators, was manufactured at the company’s Volgodonsk facility in Rostov Oblast, southwest Russia.
Photo: Reactor vessel put in place at Belarus Nuclear Plant (credit: Rosatom)