Rosatom starts production for small nuclear power plant in Yakutia

12 December 2023

The Rosatom Engineering Division in St Petersburg has begun manufacturing components of various configurations for its first low-power ground-based NPP (ASMM), which will be equipped with the latest RITM-200N reactor unit. It is planned to supply more than 165 tonnes of stainless-steel blanks that have passed the full cycle of metallurgical alterations for the Yakut ASMM project.

“Demand for ASMM technological solutions is growing rapidly today. Such reactors are considered one of the most promising areas for the development of world nuclear energy,” said Igor Kotov, head of Rosatom’s engineering division. “In this matter, Russia intends to maintain leadership and is confidently moving to the production of not just designs or experimental, but industrial plants. In other words, we already today we are implementing what others are just planning.”

Construction of the ASMM in Yakutia will ensure energy independence and socio-economic development of the region. The facility will serve one of the largest mining centres in Russia and in the future will provide electricity to industrial enterprises, including the Kuchus, MP, and Tirekhtyam fields. The commissioning of the station is scheduled for 2028.

The pilot station will include one power unit with the RITM-200N reactor unit. The installation is an evolution of the latest RITM-200 ship reactor for nuclear icebreakers adapted for ground deployment. The thermal power of RITM-200N is 190 MWt and the electric power 55 MWe. The installation has an operating life of 60 years and will be refuelled every 5-6 years.

Earlier, Rosatom hosted a Small Modular Reactors Day (SMR Day) on the sidelines of the COP28 climate conference, where it presented a full range of technological solutions to achieve climate goals and ensure a low-carbon future. “We are convinced that nuclear energy will inevitably become the foundation of the low-carbon balance we all strive for, said Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev. “Low-capacity nuclear power generation, as one of the reliable technological solutions, will occupy a worthy place in the future of nuclear energy. I am confident that Rosatom’s proposals in the field of small modular reactors will become an effective and environmentally friendly choice for those countries that, for various reasons, have not considered nuclear generation before.”

In addition to the presenting details of the Yakutia project, Rosatom’s portfolio also included the world’s only floating nuclear power plant (FNPP), the Akademik Lomonosov, which began commercial operation at the end of 2019. It has since generated more than 700 GWh of electricity for Pevek in Chukotka, the northernmost city in Russia. Based on this experience, work is underway on the next-generation floating power unit technology based on the RITM-200 reactors. It is planned that by 2029, they will start supplying power for the development of the Baimskaya ore zone in Chukotka.

Rosatom is also implementing the Shelf-M microreactor project with a capacity of up to 10 MWe. The first plant based on this technology is expected to be operational by 2030. “Today we see that to fulfil certain goals and objectives, the power of our base model of a small nuclear reactor of 100 MWe is sometimes excessive. To respond to such a customer request, we developed the Shelf-M reactor technology,” said Kirill Komarov, First Deputy Director General for Development & International Business at Rosatom. Such a microreactor is to be installed at the Sovinoye gold deposit in Chukotka, which is licensed by Elkonsky MMC, part of Rosatom’s mining division ARMZ. “ We have identified a site for the first microreactor, and development of a basic project is in full swing. We plan to complete it in 2024 in order to put this installation into operation by 2030.”

“There are more than 70 small modular reactor projects in the world in the design stage. Rosatom is the only technology company that has moved from words to action,” said Komarov. “Today, by implementing our projects for Yakutia and Chukotka, we have set ourselves the task of demonstrating the economic efficiency and reliability of SMRs. Creating a reference project in the Russian Far East will open up a huge market for this technology We are confident that the experience gained in the coming years will allow us to offer our partners around the world the best solutions in the field of SMRs.”

Image: First steel has been poured for the manufacture of equipment for the Yakut ASMM project in Russia  (courtesy of Atomenergomash)

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