The Russian government has approved a plan to build 21 new nuclear power generation units across nine power stations by 2030 as part of a regional and territorial energy planning scheme.
The plan, released in a document published by the government’s official online portal for legal information, includes the construction of five new nuclear power stations with two units each, three new power plant units at locations where a commercial nuclear installation already exists, and the addition of one new unit at an existing plant site.
The five new nuclear power stations are:
• “Kostroma” in the Kostroma region, about 350 kilometres northeast of Moscow. It will consist of two VVER-1200 reactor units.
• “Nizhny Novgorod” in the Nizhny Novgorod region, about 330 kilometres east of Moscow. The site has been in the planning stage since 2008 and the location that has been chosen is in the Navashinsky district in the southwest of Nizhny Novgorod. The new station will consist of two VVER-1200 reactor units.
• “Tatar” in the Republic of Tatarstan, Volga district, western Russia. The station will be sited in the Kamskiy region, 130 kilometres east of Kazan, and will consist of two VVER-1200 reactor units.
• “Seversky” in the closed town of Seversk, about 20 kilometres north of Tomsk in south-central Russia. The station will be built near the Sibirskaya nuclear power plant, which in 1954 was the first industrial-scale nuclear plant in the then-USSR and was decommissioned in 2008. The new station will consist of two VVER-1200 reactor units.
• “South Ural” in the Kaslinsky district of the Chelyabinskaya oblast, about 200 kilometres southeast of Yekaterinburg. It will consist of two Generation IV BN-1200 sodium-cooled fast reactor units.
The Russian government also approved the construction of replacement capacity at three existing nuclear power stations which are near the end of their operational lifetimes.
The new plants will replace the Kola, Kursk and Smolensk nuclear plants by constructing two reactor units at the new Kola 2 site and four reactor units each at the new Kursk and Smolensk 2 2 sites. All reactors will be of the VVER-1200 type.
The plan also approves the addition of a Generation IV BN-1200 type sodium-cooled fast reactor at the Beloyarsk nuclear station. The site already hosts one operational fast reactor unit of the BN-600 type and the construction of a BN-800 type is expected to be completed in 2014.
The BN-800 reactor will be the final step to a commercial plutonium cycle breeder reactor, which uses mixed uranium-plutonium fuel. This is seen as a major step towards reducing plutonium stockpiles stemming from reprocessing used nuclear fuel from other plants. It is a pool-type system where the reactor, primary coolant pumps, intermediate heat exchangers and associated piping are located in a common liquid sodium vessel.
The technical design of the BN-1200 reactor, planned for Beloyarsk and later for the South Ural plant, is due to be completed this year and the prototype construction at Beloyarsk is set to begin in 2015. The BN-1200 is an improvement on the BN-600 and BN-800 designs using larger fuel elements with a simplified refuelling procedure, the reactor’s designer and manufacturer, Afrikantov Experimental Design Bureau for Mechanical Engineering, has said.
The government plan says that the first unit at the Kursk 2 nuclear station will begin commercial operation by 2020. Another eight blocks will enter into service by 2025 and the remaining 12 by 2030.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there are ten nuclear reactors at six sites under construction in Russia, including the two-unit floating nuclear plant Akademik Lemonosov.
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