The VVER-TOI reactor pressure vessel (RPV) has been delivered to the site of Russia’s Kursk-II NPP for installation in unit 2. Governor of the Kursk Region Roman Starovoyt noted the significance of the event and, in general, of the investment project being implemented by Rosatom in the region. “The construction of new units will ensure industrial growth. Kursk-II is a key investment project in the region for the coming decades. The need for electrical energy is significant. Therefore, we are confident that the electricity from the new reactors will be in demand in the southwest of the country,” he said.

Kursk II will replace the currently operating Kursk NPP, which comprises four ageing RBMK reactors (one of which is already closed). Units 1&2, currently under construction, will have VVER-TOI reactors – a development of the VVER-1200 reactor design. The VVER-TOI has increased power and improved technical and economic indicators, as well as increased resistance to extreme external influences. Currently work is being carried out at 156 facilities on the Kursk-II site. The number of construction and installation personnel is more than 8,500.

During plant operation, the RPV contains the core, which houses nuclear fuel, as well as structural elements for the nuclear reaction and transfer of thermal energy to the coolant. Externally, the reactor vessel is a vertical cylindrical vessel with a bottom and branch pipes. “The 340-tonne, 12-metre reactor vessel is capable of withstanding a pressure of 250 atmospheres, which is 1.4 times higher than the working pressure,” said Kursk NPP Director Alexander Uvakin. This means that, after 60 years of operation, it will be possible to extend the life of the reactor by another 40 years.”

Transfer of the RPV from the Atommash plant in Volgodonsk to the construction site involved both water and land transport. The equipment was transported to a special pier of the Tsimlyansk Reservoir, then loaded onto a barge and delivered to the Voronezh region. From there it was loaded onto a truck platform. It was accompanied by technical support and traffic police vehicles. The speed of the convoy did not exceed 25 km/h.

“Installation of the equipment is planned for this year – this is a complex, construction operation consisting of different stages,” explained Oleg Shperle, Vice-President of Atomstroyexport JSC, project director for the construction of Kursk-II. “According to the project, the reactor vessel will be installed at 11.3 metres on a support ring inside the reactor compartment. This is a key event in the construction of Kursk-II. It paves the way for installation of all primary circuit equipment, after which the countdown begins to the start of commissioning work at the nuclear power plant.” Installation work will be carried out by the contractor of the Kursk branch of MSU 5, JSC Energospetsmontazh.

Image courtesy of Rosatom