Small-Sized Nuclear Power Stations
Low-power research reactors are the sources of energy for regions with
decentralized power supply.
Currently, not only in Russia, but all over the world, the interest in low-power reactors as advanced energy sources for regions with decentralized power supply is growing rapidly. This is due to the fact that in complex natural conditions, traditional energy sources are not able to meet the growing demand for heat and electricity everywhere.
The active development of remote areas with the expansion of gold, diamond, and rare metal mining, rising gas, coal, iron ore production, and the development of the processing industry requires the energy problems to be solved. Electric power transmission costs in harsh environmental conditions and over long distances can be several times as high as the cost of its production. This factor is crucial for defining the competitiveness of small-sized nuclear power stations in remote areas. For such energy sources, new-generation reactors have been created that outperform operating Russian and foreign reactors in terms of reliability and safety. The development of these units is based on the accumulated experience of JSC “Afrikantov OKBM” in the design and operation of marine reactors and a powerful scientific and technical potential in the field of solving energy problems.
Major advantages of small-sized nuclear power stations based on marine technologies:
Compact size allowing placement in remote areas and at confined sites.
Capability of creating the required power of small-sized nuclear power stations depending on the customer's requirements by selecting the number of modules, which reduces the cost and time of construction.
Capability of using small-sized nuclear power stations for seawater desalination (if additional equipment is installed) and heat production.
Short construction period of small-sized nuclear power stations as compared to large energy facilities.
Environmentally friendly energy.
Fuel handling, qualified maintenance of the station, and decommissioning of the station after its lifetime is exhausted are carried out by the operating organization using reference technologies for the operation of ship reactors.
Minimum volume and cost of major construction at the operating site of the station.
Small-sized nuclear power stations can operate in the load tracking mode, with maneuvering range from 10 to 100 %.
JSC “Afrikantov OKBM” has developed a number of projects of low-power reactor plants (6 – 100 MW (e)) on the basis of the long-term experience in development and operation of marine and naval reactors.
Projects for placing small-sized nuclear power stations on land and on floating structures have been developed.
Land-Based Nuclear Power Stations
State Corporation Rosatom is developing a wide range of small-sized nuclear power stations. The flagship project in the segment of land-based small-sized nuclear power stations is a nuclear power station based on the RITM-200 reactor plant with a power of 50 MW. This is a universal scalable solution that is suitable for countries that are not ready to implement a large-sized nuclear power station project, as well as for areas with limited energy infrastructure and remote regions.
The distinguishing feature of small-sized nuclear power stations is the placement of two reactor plants in individual containments within one building (traditional layout for marine reactor plants). Such a solution makes it possible to arrange a single complex of systems and equipment that serves both reactor plants (refueling facilities, storage of fresh and spent nuclear fuel, radioactive waste, water treatment systems, etc.), while ensuring the independence of both reactor plants, almost the same as that achieved by placing two single-reactor units at the same site.
Small-Sized Nuclear Power Station with a RITM-200 Reactor Plant
The RITM-200 reactor plant is designed for a multipurpose nuclear icebreaker using the accumulated experience in the design, manufacture, and operation of marine reactor plants OK-150, OK-900, OK-900А, KLT-40, and KLT-40М.
Presently, the conceptual design of RITM-200 for small-sized nuclear power stations has been completed. The pilot design of the nuclear power station based on the RITM-200 reactor plant is planned to be constructed in Russia.
Floating Nuclear Co-generation Stations
FPUs are entirely built at ship building enterprises.
The floating design of the power unit minimizes the volume and cost of major construction in the area where the nuclear power station is located.
The floating power unit (FPU) is fully created at the ship building enterprise using the mastered technology of building nuclear icebreakers and RF Navy ships. After loading fuel and conducting integrated testing, the FPU is transported to the operating site where it is connected to shore grids and starts operating.
The customer gets environmentally friendly electric and heat power, while the operating organization deals with nuclear fuel handling, qualified station maintenance, and decommissioning the FPU after its lifetime is exhausted, using the existing process base and infrastructure of the Russian nuclear fleet.
The floating power unit equipment meets all reliability and safety requirements, including the nuclear and radiation safety recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The existing process base and infrastructure
of the Russian nuclear fleet are used to the maximum.
The energy sources based on low-power reactor plants as part of the desalinating complex developed by JSC “Afrikantov OKBM” can be used to desalinate sea water, which is of a particular interest to the regions with a shortage of fresh water. Different desalination technologies are available for either reverse osmosis (RO) or multi-stage evaporation plants (MED). Many countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe, which suffer from severe shortage of fresh water, show interest in such complexes.
The first project of State Corporation Rosatom, which made it possible to confirm the advantages of the new technology, was the first-of-a-kind FPU Akademik Lomonosov with an electric power of 70 MW and two KLT-40S reactor plants developed by JSC “Afrikantov OKBM.” The FPU Akademik Lomonosov as part of the FNCP is designed to supply heat and electricity to Pevek.
In Russia, FNCPs are demanded primarily in the Far North and Far East regions that are not covered by the unified power grid and require reliable and economically competitive energy sources.
In 2018, the physical and power startups of two KLT-40S power plants took place in Murmansk.
The FNCP is expected to return to full power by 2021 after replacing the Bilibino NPP that will have been decommissioned by that time. Akademik Lomonosov will become the world’s northernmost nuclear power plant.
Considering that the FNCP with the FPU Akademik Lomonosov is the first-of-a-kind one, the beginning of its operation will allow us to speak about the practical use of atomic energy to provide heat and energy to remote areas and about the fact that the incorporated technologies can be used as referential.
The technical solutions of the KLT-40S reactor plant design are provided with legal protection, and today JSC “Afrikantov OKBM” is the right holder of the following results of intellectual activity:
- 4 inventions,
- 4 utility models,
- 26 pieces of software,
- 79 know-hows.
To ensure the development of the FNCP technology, State Corporation Rosatom is developing a new product in the segment of floating power stations, an optimized floating power unit (OFPU). One OFPU is expected to be fitted with two reactor plants of the RITM-200M type that will ensure a total electric power of the plant of around 100 MW. RITM-200M is an upgraded RIMT-200 with a refueling interval increased to 10 years. The main OFPU features are as follows:
- decreased water displacement of the vessel due to the optimized equipment;
- increased fuel cycle (up to 10 years) with fuel enrichment of less than 20%;
- no refueling equipment onboard, which makes the object more stable in terms of proliferation of nuclear weapons and physical protection;
- two options of vessel design: - non-self-propelled and self-propelled (with a dynamic positioning system).
The proposed solutions allow the use of OFPUs in the countries with the minimum developed nuclear infrastructure under the BOO (Build Own Operate) scenario using the competence and infrastructure of the Russian nuclear industry. This reduces the financial burden on a potential customer interested in electricity supplies at a stable price.
Currently, the development of the conceptual design of the OFPU with a RITM-200 reactor plant has been completed; the draft design stage has begun. Considering that the OFPU is unique from the legal point of view, while working through technical solutions, JSC “Afrikantov OKBM” takes part in the work of the IAEA INPRO international project “Study of scenarios of placing a low-power reactor plant with fuel loading at the place of manufacture”, the task of which is to prepare recommendations on the regulatory support of the lifecycle of transportable low-power power plants.
Medium-Sized Nuclear Power Stations
For a number of years, JSC “Afrikantov OKBM” has been developing VBER reactor plants with a power of up to 600 MW (e) with modular pressurized water reactors and developed passive safety systems.
According to the IAEA classification, these plants pertain to medium-power reactors.
Medium-power units are designed to supply power to particular regions of Russia, developed and developing countries that do not require 1000-1500 MW units and that depend heavily on the cost of procurement or transportation of hydrocarbon fuel.
VBER plants can be used as part of medium-sized nuclear power stations to supply energy to cities and large industrial and residential areas, oil extraction and refinery centers, liquefied natural gas (LNG) production, mining and processing works, desalination facilities.
VBER reactor plants are built using proven solutions and the latest advances in marine technologies, including a reactor unit and a sealed primary circuit with core and fuel cycle solutions traditional for the nuclear power industry (VVER-1000). The design meets all the fundamental safety, reliability and efficiency requirements for advanced new-generation nuclear power stations.
The compactness of modular plants and the technical solutions for systems and equipment tested by the operation of NSSSs open the way for reducing construction volumes, construction time, capital and operating costs in the conditions of stationary power engineering, increasing safety and simplifying operation.
An important element of the process platform of VBER plants is a unified heat exchange loop that makes it possible to vary the unit power of the reactor plant from 170 to 600 MW (e) and, accordingly, that of the power unit by changing the number of loops. The basic qualities of the plants, that meet the possible requirements of customers, are as follows:
multifunctional performance of the reactor plant (electricity, heat, desalination);
modular design ensuring large-module installation;
multipurposeness and flexibility of the technology to meet the requirements of potential customers.
The technical solutions incorporated in the designs of VBER reactor plants are provided with legal protection, and today JSC “Afrikantov OKBM” is the right holder of the following:
- 5 inventions,
- 1 utility model,
- 13 pieces of software,
- 43 know-hows.