Russia will build 11 additional nuclear reactors by 2030 not including 5 under construction already

Russia plans to construct 11 new nuclear power reactors by 2030 – including two BN-1200 sodium-cooled fast neutron reactors. A document, which covers “territorial planning for energy” for the period, also identifies six points for radioactive waste disposal.

The 11 units do not include those already under construction – Kaliningrad, Leningrad, Novovoronezh and Rostov – or the floating reactor Academician Lomonosov. The BN-1200 reactors are to be built at the Beloyarsk and South Urals nuclear power plants.

The fast nuclear BN-1200 reactor will be vast improvement and upgrade over the BN-800

The BN-1200 reactor is a 1200 MW sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor project, under development by OKBM Afrikantov in Zarechny, Russia, and the design was originally planned to be complete by 2017. In 2015 Rosenergoatom postponed construction “indefinitely” to allow fuel design to be improved after more experience of operating the BN-800 reactor, and amongst cost concerns.

Goals are enhanced safety (IV generation) and a breeding ratio of 1.2 to 1.3–1.35 for mixed uranium-plutonium oxide fuel and 1.45 for nitride fuel. Based on the BN-600 reactor, the core would use greater size fuel elements and require a simplified refueling procedure compared to BN-600 and BN-800 reactor. Boron carbide would be used for in-reactor shielding. Thermal power should be nominal 2900 MW with an electric output of 1220 MW. Primary coolant temperature at the intermediate heat exchanger is 550 °C and at the steam generator 527 °C. Gross efficiency is expected to be 42%, net 39%. Safety enhancements are the elimination of outer primary circuit sodium pipelines and a passive emergency heat removal. Projected unit service life is 60 years. OKBM expects to commission the first unit with MOX fuel in 2020, then eight more to 2030. SPb AEP also claims design involvement. It is intended to be a Generation IV design and produce electricity at RUR 0.65/kWh (US 2.23 cents/kWh), and Rosenergoatom is ready to involve foreign specialists in its design, with India and China particularly mentioned. Rosatom’s Science and Technology Council has approved the BN-1200 reactor for Beloyarsk

The decree also approves building a facility to produce high-density U-Pu nitride fuel and the construction by 2025 of the BREST-OD-300 fast neutron reactor. BREST-OD-300 is part of Russian state nuclear corporation’s ‘Proryv’, or Breakthrough, project to enable a closed nuclear fuel cycle. The ultimate aim is to eliminate production of radioactive waste from nuclear power generation.

In addition, the decree approves construction by 2030 of a VVER-600 unit for the Kola nuclear power plant and a total of seven VVER-TOI units at the sites of the following nuclear power plants – Kola II, Smolensk II, Nizhny Novgorod, Kostroma and (the planned) Tatar.

Russian nuclear engineering company OKBM Afrikantov is developing the BN-1200 reactor as a next step towards future reactor designs. The reactor was scheduled to start commercial operation in 2025, depending on experience of operating the pilot Beloyarsk 4, a 789 MWe fast-neutron reactor of the BN-800 design. The BN-800 should start operation by the end of this year. It has recently reached full operating power testing.

The BN-800 core with metallic fuel should have an average burnup 80 MW·days/kg. (fuel burn-up of 70-100 GWd/t). Normal light water reactors now have about 50 Gigawatts per day per ton of fuel, and new LWR will have about 65 GWd/t and annular /cylinder shaped for better hear management fuel will enable older reactors to have higher burnup. The BN-1200 followup russian fast reactor could have 120 GWd/t fuel burnup. This means about twice as efficient with uranium as improved light water reactors. Also, the left over fuel will be more easily processed offsite for use of the unburned or waste fuel.

China is buying of the BN-800 reactors. China would likely buy the BN-1200 technology if Russia fast nuclear reactor technology stays ahead of China’s domestic fast nuclear reactor programs.

Atomenergoproekt announced the VVER-TOI (typical optimised, with enhanced information) design in 2010. This design has an upgraded pressure vessel, increased power to 3300 MWt and 1255-1300 MWe gross (nominally 1300), improved core design to increase cooling reliability, further development of passive safety with 72-hour grace period requiring no operator intervention after shutdown, lower construction and operating costs, and 40-month construction time. It will use a low-speed turbine-generator.

The decree, which is dated 1 August, includes approval of near-surface disposal facilities for radioactive waste of the third and fourth classifications (low- and intermediate-level waste). They are to be hosted by Ural Electrochemical Integrated Plant (48,000 cubic metres); Mayak (100,000 cu m); and Siberian Chemical Combine (200,000 cu m).

A 50,000 cu m sub-surface disposal facility for low- and intermediate-level waste has also been approved for Sosnovy Bor, in the Leningrad region.

Finally, deep burial disposal facilities have been approved for the Nizhnekansky granitoid rock massif in the Krasnoyarsk region – 4500 cu m for the first classification of radioactive waste and 155,000 cu m for the second classification.

SOURCES – World Nuclear News, IAEA, Wikipedia