The 340-tonne reactor vessel could now be installed before the end of the year at the new unit being built by Rosatom at the Kursk nuclear power plant.

(Image: Rosatom)

The reactor pressure vessel - one of five shipped this year by Rosatom - was transported by barge and road from the Atommash plant in Volgodonsk. For the last leg of the journey, the giant load had specialist traffic and police escorts, with its speed not reaching 25 kilometres an hour.

Kursk II is a new nuclear power plant in western Russia, about 60 kilometres (37.5 miles) from the Ukraine border, that will feature four VVER-TOI reactors, the latest version of Russia's large light-water designs. They have upgraded pressure vessels and a higher power rating of 3300 MWt that enables them to generate 1300 MWe gross and they will replace four RBMK units currently operating at the site.

Construction of the first unit began in 2018, its polar crane was installed in October 2021 and the reactor vessel in June 2022. Concreting of the outer dome of the first unit was completed in August.

Alexander Uvakin, director of Kursk NPP, said: "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. This will allow, after 60 years of operation, to extend the life of the reactor by another 40."

Oleg Shperle, vice-president of Atomstroyexport JSC, director of the project for the construction of Kursk II, said installation of the equipment is planned for this year, adding it was a complex construction operation with the reactor vessel installed at a height of 11.3 metres "on a support ring inside the reactor compartment". He said the installation was one of the key events in the construction of Kursk II: "It marks the active phase of installation of all primary circuit equipment, from which the countdown begins until the start of commissioning work at the nuclear power plant."

Governor of the Jursk region, Roman Starovoyt, said it was "a key investment project in the region" and would help meet the need for electricity in the region for decades to come.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Wednesday, 22 November 2023
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Reactor-vessel-delivered-to-Kursk-II-s-second-unit