Installation of a reloading machine is underway at the construction site of unit 1 at Russia’s Kursk-II NPP. It is designed to perform transport and technological operations related to the reloading of nuclear fuel in the core of the VVER-TOI reactor as well as absorber rods of the control and protection system and hermetic canisters. The machine will also monitor the tightness of the fuel cladding during reloading and auxiliary operations to ensure safety of the process.

“The reloading machine is one of the most important elements for safe operation of a nuclear power plant,” said Kursk NPP Acting Director Andrey Osharin. “It is a robotic manipulator, consisting of a bridge with a mobile cart installed on it with a working rod and other mechanisms.” The 55-tonne reloading machine is installed inside the containment at an elevation of more than 26.3 metres. Once installed, testing will begin.

The equipment was manufactured by JSC OKBM Afrikantov (Rosatom's mechanical engineering division). Sergey Danilov, head of the department responsible for the development of reloading equipment at OKBM Afrikantov, said the next task will be the supply of reloading machines for unit 2 of the Kursk NPP-2, as well s for unit 5&6 of India’s Kudankulam NPP.

The equipment of the reloading machine is one of the most complex systems in the reactor island complex. It combines mechanical, lifting, electrical devices, a control system and must have high accuracy. Requirements for error of the reloading machine reaching a given coordinate are no more than 2 mm.

Image courtesy of Kursk NPP