Russia’s Kursk II NPP has been chosen for a pilot project to trial the first stage of an automated control system for the cost and schedule of nuclear power plant construction (ACS SS).
Rosatom’s Industry Capital Construction Centre, Kursk II general designer and general contractor ASE (Rosatom’s engineering division), nuclear utility Rosenergoatom’s Capital Project, the Smolensk and Leningrad NPPs, as well as the BDO Unicon business consultancy are all participating in the project.
The new ACS SS system is being developed as part of Rosatom’s TCM NC industry information system. TCM NC experts have drawn up requirements for the ACS SS system in terms of cost management and project timing, the implementation of which will enable more efficient management of strategic and operational budgeting, as well as monitoring the performance of work during NPP construction. The project started in December 2017 and includes three launch stages which should be completed the end of 2019.
Rosenergoatom Deputy General Director for Economics and Finance Sergei Migalin said Kursk II was selected because it has “an active and solid team of professionals who have proven themselves in other IT projects”. The trial operation of the first stage of the ACS SS will take two months. Based on its results, it will begin industrial operation and will be integrated with ASE’s information system for capital construction management. It will then be replicated at other NPPs under construction, namely Novovoronezh II and Leningrad II.
Kursk II is a replacement station the units of the current Kursk station (RBMK reactors) which are approaching the end of their design lives. Commissioning of the first two units with new VVER-TOI reactors at Kursk II will be synchronised with the decommissioning Kursk 1&2.
Earlier in November, installation of the core melt trap began at unit 1of Kursk II. The first part of the device, the body of the “melt trap”, a 110-tonne container, has been installed. The complete device will weigh more than 800 tonnes. The other elements of the “melt trap” are: block-cassettes filled with special non-metallic materials, a service platform, a truss-console and a bottom plate. “The trap has been put in place a month earlier than planned. It “meets all modern safety requirements, has high seismic resistance, impact strength, as well as protection from flooding”, a plant official said.
The first melt trap was installed at the Tianwan nuclear plant in China. Now all units of the Novovoronezh II and Leningrad II are equipped with the device as well as the Kudankulam nuclear plant in India.
Cobal-60 production begins at Kursk NPP
Meanwhile at the original Kursk NPP production of cobalt-60 (Co-60) has begun. Additional cobalt absorbers were loaded for the first time into Kursk 4 within the framework of a Rosenergoatom project for industrial-scale production of Co-60. This followed authorisation from regulator Rostechnadzor.
Vyacheslav Fedyukin, director of Kursk NPP, noted that Rosenergoatom is using the unique capabilities of RBMK reactors to produce the radioisotope. The technology has already been tested at the Leningrad and Smolensk nuclear plants. For more than 20 years Co-60 production took place at Leningrad, and in 2016, Co-60 production was also initiated at Smolensk and Kursk. In the autumn of 2017, the first additional cobalt absorber was loaded into Smolensk 1.
“The process of loading additional cobalt absorbers is no different from loading regular additional absorbers with boron carbide, and their use does not change the neutron-physical characteristics of the reactor facility, ” said the head of the department of radiation technologies Nikolay Kushkova. Each additional cobalt absorber includes 1152 tablets of nickel-plated natural cobalt-59. After five years of irradiation this is transformed into cobalt-60. After irradiation, the specialists of the radiation technology department, using specialised equipment, will divide the cobalt absorbers into elements, and load them into transport containers for transfer to the customer.