Second RBMK unit closed at Russia’s Kursk NPP

1 February 2024

The RBMK reactor at unit 2 of Russia’s Kursk NPP has been permanently shut down after 45 years of operation. Kursk NPP comprises four ageing RBMK-1000 units, two of which are now closed down. The plant will be replaced by the Kursk-II plant being built on an adjacent site which will have VVER-TOI reactors. Units 1&2 are currently under construction.

During its operating life, Kursk 2 generated more than 256 TWh of electricity. “This is enough to ensure at the current level the electricity consumption of 4.3m residents of Russia throughout the entire 45-year life of the power unit, said Alexander Shutikov Director General of nuclear utility Rosenergoatom. “As in the case of unit 1, stopped in December 2021, regular operations will be carried out at unit 2 in the future, which, in effect, do not differ from a normal regular outage.”

He noted that unit 1 at Kursk-II should begin operation later this year “and therefore, the replacement of withdrawn capacities will not be noticed by electricity consumers”. The design life of the RBMK-1000 reactors at Kursk NPP was initially 30 years, but after extensive technical modernisation, the service life of all four units was extended for another 15 years.

Meanwhile, Rosatom has completed the installation of the turbine unit for the VVER-TOI reactor at Kursk-II unit 1. This operation was completed with the installation of the turbine shaft line. Installation was preceded by a lot of preparatory work: exhibiting bearing cases, centring rotors by half couplings, displaying cylinders relative to rotors, etc. the work then underwent a quality check. Work will now start on the third (final) stage of concreting – the grading of the foundation frames and wells of the turbine and generator.

“Installation of the shaft line, in my opinion, is the most important and difficult operation in the installation of the turbine,” said Kursk NPP Director Alexander Uvakin. “The accuracy and quality of this technological operation directly affects the durability and quality of the turbine during industrial operation. The complexity of the operation lies in the accuracy of the work. For example, the knee tolerance is 0.02 mm. The equipment has enormous dimensions and weight: the total length of the shaft line is about 58 metres; the total weight of rotors is 800 tonnes.”

Images courtesy of Kursk NPP

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