A new-generation core catcher has been installed at Kudankulam unit 3 which is currently under construction in India, Russia's AtomStroyExport (ASE) has announced.

A core catcher - also referred to as a core melt localisation device, or core trap - is designed to catch the molten core of a reactor in the unlikely event of a meltdown, preventing it from escaping the containment building. Kudankulam 3's core catcher is a new generation device, which is adapted to the relevant site conditions and safety requirements, ASE said. It has improved seismic resistance, hydro-dynamic and shock strength and is also equipped with flood protection and simplified installation and assembly technology.

Vladimir Angelov, ASE director for projects in India, said the core catcher is a "unique development by Russian nuclear experts" and one of the nuclear power plant's most important safety systems. "This is a special system for beyond-design basis accident management," he said.

The case of Kudankulam 3's core catcher weighs 147.5 tonnes, and its components include block-assemblies filled with non-metallic materials, a maintenance platform, cantilever truss and bottom plate. The device was lifted by crane to a height of 27 metres for installation in its design position, ASE added.

Construction of unit 3 - one of two AES-92 design VVER-1000 units under construction as the second phase of the Kudankulam plant in Tamil Nadu - began in 2017. Kudankulam 1 and 2, both VVER-1000 units, have been in operation since 2014 and 2017, respectively. A third phase using the AES-92 design is also planned.

ASE is the engineering division of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and operates in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Pacific region. Some 80% of ASE's revenue is accounted for foreign projects.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Kudankulam-3-core-catcher-installed