Russia’s Kursk NPP, which comprises four RBMK reactors, has used new equipment for the extraction of graphite elements during a scheduled repair outage. During the repair process, when the technological channels are removed, dust, chips, particles of graphite of various shapes and sizes fall into the gaps between the graphite blocks. In order to clean these gaps, a new device (UIFG-92) has been developed.
“The device for extracting fragments of graphite is unique. The developers are our long-term partners, the Prolog company from Obninsk, said Kursk NPP director Vyacheslav Fedyukin. Previously, it took one eight-hour shift to clear one joint of graphite blocks; now, with the help of UIFG-92, the operation takes only 15 minutes.''
He said the new device in improves the efficiency of the entire enterprise. “Its use will help to reduce the dose load on personnel, reduce temporary losses during the performance of work, which will in turn reduce the repair time. Most importantly, it will ensure the safe, reliable operation of the power unit.”
The graphite fragment extraction device includes a gripper for graphite blocks, a radiation-resistant TV camera, a suction pipe and a blower module. It needs only two operators. After installation on the cell, the operator guides the module to the column of graphite blocks, and lifts the target block 120 mm with a special grip. The space between the graphite blocks is then blown with air, and the graphite particles are sucked up by the module, like a vacuum cleaner. Then the graphite column is lowered to its original place, and the UIFG-92 is removed. The new device will now be used during repairs at all the Kursk units.