Russian regulator Rostechnadzor has issued a 15-year operating licence extension for unit 3 of the Smolensk nuclear power plant, the last of three RBMK-1000 reactors at the site in western Russia. The move means the whole plant has permission to operate for a total of 45 years.
The Smolensk plant covers 75% of electricity supply to the region and 13% of all of the country's nuclear power generation. Life-extending modernisation work at unit 3 was completed in March, when the other two units were already set for an extended period of operation of 15 years.
Rosenergoatom, the operator subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, said the upgrade work had included "a whole range of scientific, technical and engineering activities".
Pavel Lubensky, director of the plant added: "The control systems of power unit No.3 have undergone almost complete updating and technical re-equipment. We carried out complete modernisation, performing thousands of complex operations with the mass replacement of equipment, the introduction of new-generation security systems and much more. Over 2000 kilometres of cable was laid and more than 2000 sets of equipment were installed. All the planned work has been completed efficiently and in full."
Extending the operating period of existing nuclear power units is "worldwide practice", Rosenergoatom said, adding that this had been done at 27 Russian nuclear power units since 2001. Three of these have since completed their additional service life and preparations are under way for their decommissioning, it said. By the end of this year, licences for the extension of operations at three more units will have been issued - Kola unit 2, Novovoronezh unit 4 and Bilibino unit 2.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News