Russia’s Kursk NPP said on 16 June that power had been supplied for auxiliary needs to unit 1 of the Kursk-II project where two new units with VVER-TOI reactors are under construction. This was preceded by a long preparatory process starting in 2021. This is an essential step towards start up and commissioning. 

“The process of supplying voltage for our own needs includes several long-term stages. The first was completed in August last year: advanced commissioning of fire protection monitoring and control systems and automatic fire extinguishing systems necessary for laying control and power cables were put in place,”said Alexander Uvakin, Acting Director of the Kursk NPP. “Now we are implementing the second stage – we have supplied voltage for our own needs according to a temporary scheme. This will allow us to continue the process of construction, installation and commissioning of equipment before it becomes possible to implement the third stage – supplying voltage for our own needs from the 330 kV network according to a permanent design scheme. The third stage is scheduled for 2023.”

To achieve the temporary supply, two transformer substations were installed at the construction site from which 86 10-kilometre-long cable lines will be laid through underground cable tunnels in different directions – to the power supply building for normal operation, to the auxiliary reactor building and to the switchgear building for general plant systems. 

“Supplying voltage for own needs according to a temporary scheme is necessary to start commissioning work on electrical equipment in the buildings of the unit,” explained Andrey Osharin, First Deputy Director for the Construction of New Units. “First of all, voltage was supplied to the power supply building for normal operation – this is an energy centre that distributes electricity to the equipment and systems of all power unit facilities: the reactor building, the turbine hall and others.”

Kursk-II is a replacement station for the current Kursk nuclear plant. Commissioning of the first two units with the new design VVER-TOI reactors will be synchronised with the decommissioning of the RBMK reactors at Kursk 1&2 of the operating plant. Kursk 1 of the existing plant was permanently closed down in December 2021.

Image: Engineers connect a temporary power supply to allow auxiliary works to commence at unit 1 of the Kursk-II NPP (photo courtesy of Kursk NPP 2)