The regional and federal ministries are "actively working" to change the existing plans for Russia's first land-based small modular reactor project in Yakutia into a two-reactor scheme, after assessing likely future energy demands.

How the SMR could look (Image: Rosatom)

Work is already under way on the project - in February it was announced that construction of worker camps and a new road to the site was taking place, and Rosenergoatom was officially designated as the operating organisation by parent company Rosatom.

The small modular reactor (SMR) is a water-cooled RITM-200N 55 MW reactor that has been adapted from the RITM-200 series used to power Russia's latest fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers. It will be built near Ust-Kuyga in Yakutia (also known as Sakha) in Russia's Arctic north, with the aim of commissioning in 2028. Nuclear regulator Rostekhnadzor granted the construction licence in April 2023 and the expected service life is 60 years with a five-year refuelling schedule.

On Thursday, on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, an agreement on ensuring the appropriate electric power infrastructure as part of the project was signed by Rosatom's Deputy Director General Kirill Komarov and Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Sakha Kirill Bychkov.

The regional government and federal agencies will create the distribution networks, power transmission lines and substations required for the SMR to supply the existing power needs and the proposed mining expansion in the region.

Komarov said: "The Yakut SMR NPP will provide stable and low-carbon generation for large industrial consumers, thus becoming the regional power centre. Clearly, once the SMR is commissioned, it is necessary to ensure its capacity loading will become possible following the establishing of new industrial enterprises as well as social and transportation infrastructure. This, in turn, will lead to the growth of the regional population. Taking into account the development of the current and prospective deposits of Yakut Ust-Yansk and Verkhoyansk Districts, the consumption of the mining factories will exceed 90 MW of electric capacity."

Bychkov said: "We will put every effort to support the development of the Arctic territories of Yakutia that have huge potential for creating a mining cluster. As for the electric power consumption by the population and equivalent consumer categories, it is planned to increase power supply up to 5 MW in Ust-Kuyga and 7 MW in Deputatsky ... the estimations we have made with Rosatom show that 55 MW of capacity provided by one RITM-200N reactor unit will not be sufficient for the respected industrial cluster, that’s why we are working with federal ministries and agencies on the topic of transitioning to a two-unit design."

Rosatom says the SMR plant "will become the heart of one of the largest mineral resource centres in Russia" with the development of the Kyuchus, Deputatsky, and Tirekhtyakh deposits and broader infrastructure works to "create a developed area that is comfortable for work and life".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Tuesday, 11 June 2024
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