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The first preparatory stage of decommissioning at unit 1 of Russia’s Kursk NPP has been completed. The finalised fuel assembly (FA) was unloaded from the reactor core ahead of schedule. “The goal of our activity is to remove nuclear fuel from the unit. Then we will begin dismantling the equipment, said Kursk NPP Director Alexander Uvakin. “This is a standard technological operation. The unloading and loading machine removed the cassette and transferred it to the cooling pool.”

Kursk-II with four VVER-TOI generation 3+ reactors is currently under construction as a replacement for the Kursk NPP, which is nearing the end of its design life. The station's units were connected to the grid in 1976, 1979, 1983 and 1985. In 1994-2009, all units underwent thorough technical modernisation. Unit 1 was closed in 2021 and unit 2 is scheduled to close in 2024. The technical condition of Kursk 3&4, which have not yet reached the 45-year milestone, means they can operate for a further five years. Preparatory work to support this is underway. During its lifetime, unit 1 generated over 251 TWh of electricity.

“The unloading of used fuel assemblies began in July 2022. The first batch consisted of 300 cassettes. Part of the fuel was sent for “afterburning” to the reactors at 3&4. This increased the energy efficiency of the fuel, making it possible to manage the resource more efficiently,” explained Chief Engineer Andrey Shchigolev.

Image: The last fuel assembly has been unloaded from unit 1 of the Kursk nuclear power plant in Russia (courtesy of Kursk NPP)

Date: Friday, 24 November 2023
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