August 10, 2016

Russia's future nuclear energy plans and the VVER-TOI designs

Russia is currently operating about 26 GW of nuclear power. 30.5 GWe of nuclear is projected for 2020. This was confirmed in a January 2015 ‘roadmap’, with an average of one reactor per year commissioned to 2025, including the first three TOI units and excluding the Baltic plant. From 2028 to 2035 there are two 1200 MWe-class additions per year. The ‘roadmap’ excluded smaller and experimental units. But net additions to 2020 were only 6 GWe.

Moscow having set a target of increasing the share of electricity generated to 25% by 2030, and Rosatom focussed on developing new technologies, including types of reactors that will be able to burn some spent fuels.

Russia is uprating the power of all of its reactors and extending the operating life of reactors.

The nuclear program is based on VVER technology at least to about 2030.

VVER-TOI reactors with modern design and control for the 2020s

The VVER-TOI or WWER-TOI is a design for a two-unit nuclear power plant. It would use VVER-1300/510 water pressurized reactors constructed to meet modern nuclear and radiation safety requirements. The VVER-TOI project is developed on the basis of the design documents worked out for AES-2006, considering the experience gained in development of projects based on VVER technology both in Russia and abroad, such as Novovoronezh NPP-2.

VVER-TOI is a new generation III+ Power Unit based on VVER technology, which meets a number of goals using modern information and management technologies.

The VVER-TOI design is intended to improve the competitiveness of Russian VVER technology in international markets; it is oriented to further serial construction of NPP with VVER-TOI both in Russia and abroad.

The accident control facility of the VVER-TOI project includes a corium trap, a unique Russian safety technology, which provides the guaranteed safety control through melt localizing and cooling in the terms of a severe accident at the beyond-vessel stage of core-melt localization. Within the frame of VVER-TOI, there are performed the works directed toward optimization of technical solutions made for corium trap project to decrease cost indicators and justify the corium trap operation efficiency. It is supposed to achieve a considerable decrease in the trap vessel overall sizes and sacrificed materials weight, as well as to transfer to module design of the trap vessel that make it possible to simplify transportation of the large-sized equipment to the site of NPP construction.

Combination of passive and active safety systems provided for in the VVER-TOI project ensures that core will not be destroyed for not less than 72 hours from the moment of severe accident happening in case of any possible scenario. The corresponding technical solutions guarantee that reactor plant will be transferred to safe conditions at any combination of initial events (natural and human-induced) triggering to loss of all the electric power sources. This fact increases considerably the project competitiveness both in foreign and domestic markets of electric power production

Russia has a goal of moving to fast neutron reactors and closed fuel cycle, for which Rosatom proposed two options

Transition to Fast Reactors

The principal scheme of innovative nuclear power for Russia based on new technology platform envisages full recycling of fuel, balancing thermal and fast reactors, so that 100 GWe of total capacity requires only about 100 tonnes of input per year, from enrichment tails, natural uranium and thorium, with minor actinides being burned. About 100 t/yr of fission product wastes go to a geological repository. The BN-series fast reactor plans are part of Rosatom's so-called Proryv, or "Breakthrough," project, to develop fast reactors with a closed fuel cycle whose mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel will be reprocessed and recycled. Starting 2020-25 it is envisaged that fast neutron power reactors will play an increasing role in Russia, though these will probably be new designs such as BREST with a single core and no blanket assembly for plutonium production. An optimistic scenario has expansion to 90 GWe nuclear capacity by 2050.

Russia developing and improving passively safe systems

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