Loading of dummy fuel assemblies (ITVS) into the reactor at unit 2 of the Belarus NPP began on 7 March, according to Rosatom’s Engineering Division ASE EC, general designer and general contractor for the plant. This is a prerequisite and preparatory step for loading nuclear fuel into the reactor. It includes, among other things, the development of transport and technological operations to move the assemblies from a special fresh fuel storage facility to the reactor building checks the readiness of the reloading machine.
The dummies are an exact copy of fuel assemblies in terms of weight, size and materials, but do not contain nuclear fuel. They are intended for use during commissioning at the stage of cold and hot testing of the reactor plant to ensure that the systems and main equipment of the reactor plant are in compliance with design characteristics and safety requirements, explained ASE EC vice president and director of the project Vitaly Polyanin. “After loading all 163 ITVS, specialists will complete the assembly of the reactor and, having received the appropriate permits, will proceed to the stage of hydraulic tests, which opens a huge cycle of mandatory and strictly regulated technologically complex processes carried out during the preparation of the power unit for physical start-up.”
Belarus NPP will consist of two Russian supplied VVER-1200 power units. The plant was issued a permit for pilot industrial operation of unit 1 in December. It is expected that the unit 1 will be put into commercial operation in 2021 and unit 2 in 2022.