The core catcher, or core melt trap, has been delivered for unit 2 of Russia’s Kursk II nuclear power plant, the plant announced on 24 October.
“The melt trap is a unique development of Russian nuclear scientists and one of the most important nuclear safety systems. This technical means of passive protection is designed to trap liquid and solid radioactive materials in the hypothetical case of the accidental destruction of a reactor,” explained Rostislav Kimlik , deputy chief engineer of the capital construction department and head of the construction control department at Kursk NPP.
“For the Kursk II NPP, the melt trap is adapted to the site conditions and safety requirements, and has increased seismic resistance, hydrodynamic and impact strength, as well as flood protection and simplified installation technology.”
The 381-ton device comprises a housing, a truss console and a guide plate. It was made by the Kurchatov enterprise Energotex JSC and was transported to site by road. Installation of the component is expected to begin in late December. Installation of the melt trap at Kursk II unit 1 started in November 2018.
Kursk II is a replacement station for the four units of the current Kursk station (RBMK reactors) which are approaching the end of their design lives. Commissioning of the first two units with new 1255MWe VVER-TOI reactors at Kursk II will be synchronised with the decommissioning Kursk 1&2. The general designer is Atomenergoproekt (part of the ASE Group), and the general contractor is the ASE Group. VVER-TOI is an evolutionary development based on the generation VVER-1200 reactor. Compared with other 3+ generation units, the VVER-TOI project involves a significant reduction in construction costs, timelines and operating costs. Kursk II will be the first Russian NPP to have an automated digital system for managing costs and schedule during the construction process. Currently, units 1, 2 & 4 of the Kursk NPP are operating at the capacity set by the dispatch schedule. Unit 3 in scheduled maintenance.