Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom on 18 June received project documentation relating to life extension beyond 2025 for unit 3 of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant.

Beloyarsk 3, which started operating in 1980 has a BN-600 sodium-cooled fast reactor. The project was developed by the Atomproject engineering company.  

Deputy chief engineer for Engineering Support and Modernisation of Beloyarsk NPP Peter Govorov noted: “Rosenergoatom has decided on the possibility of continued operation of the BN-600 power unit until 2040, that is, up to 60 years.”  

The initial stage involved a preliminary survey of the equipment by OKBM Afrikantov, Kurchatov Institute and other design, engineering, and research organisations which concluded that it is technically possible to continue operation of the unit.

“At the second stage, we justified the economic feasibility of the renewal,” said Govorov.

Then, Atomproekt developed an investment project. Project implementation work must be completed by 2024 and documents will then be submitted to regulator Rostekhnadzor requesting a licence for operation for 2025-2040.

Extending the operating life of the BN-600 for 15 years will generate more than 65TWh of electricity, and save over 33 million tonnes of coal that would be burned at thermal power plants.

Rostekhnadzor issued a licence to extend the life of BN-600 until 2025 in March 2020. Beloyarsk 3, which started operation in 1980 received a licence from Rostekhnadzor in 2010 to operate for an additional ten years beyond its 30-year design life. This followed a large-scale programme to modernise the Beloyarsk 3, which began in 2009, including safety upgrades, inspection and replacement of equipment, including the steam generator modules. Although Beloyarsk 3 was confirmed to have met the latest safety requirements, for extension to 2025, Rostekhnadzor issued a licence only for ten years, requesting additional justification for irreplaceable reactor elements. This work was completed and the licence was then extended from 2020 to 2025.

Photo: Beloyarsk NPP (Credit: Rosenergoatom)