Small-sized reactors, power sources for regions with
decentralized power supply.
Nowadays, not only Russia but also the entire world sees the impetuous growth of interest in small-sized reactors as prospective energy sources for regions with decentralized power supply. This is justified by the fact that the traditional energy sources are incapable of satisfying the growing demand for heat and electricity under harsh natural conditions.
The intense development of remote territories with the expanding production of gold, diamonds, rare metals, the growing production of gas, coal, iron ore, the development of the processing industry require that energy problems be solved. The long-distance electricity transmission costs under harsh environmental conditions may be a number of times greater than the electricity generation cost. This factor decisively determines the competitive ability of the small-sized nuclear power plants in remote regions. For such energy sources, new-generation reactors have been developed, which surpass the operating Russian and other reactors in terms of the reliability and safety level. The development of these plants is based upon the experience Afrikantov OKBM JSC accumulated in developing and operating marine reactors and upon the powerful science and technology potential for solving energy problems.
Below are the major advantages of marine technology-based small-sized nuclear power plants:
The compact size allows them to be placed in remote regions and on confined sites.
The small-sized nuclear power plants can be used to desalinate seawater (if additional equipment is installed) and generate heat.
The construction time for the small-sized nuclear power plants is shorter compared to the large power-generating facilities.
It is environmentally clean energy type.
The matters of fuel management are solved, the proficient maintenance and decommissioning of the nuclear power plant after its lifetime is exhausted are provided by the operator with using reference marine reactor operation technologies.
The capital construction volumes and cost are minimal at the nuclear power plant operating site.
The small-sized nuclear power plants can operate in the load-follow mode from 10 to 100%.
On the basis of many years of experience in developing and operating marine and navy reactors, Afrikantov OKBM JSC has developed a number of small-sized reactor plant designs in a range of 6–100 MWe.
Designs have been developed for placing small-sized nuclear power plants
on land and on floating structures.
Land-Based Nuclear Power Stations
The State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM is developing a wide range of small-sized nuclear power plants. The nuclear power plant based on the 50 MW RITM-200 reactor plant is a leading design in the segment of land-based small-sized nuclear power plants. This is an all-purpose scalable solution that is suitable for the countries that are not ready to implement a large-sized nuclear power plant project, as well as for territories with a limited energy infrastructure and for remote regions. The distinguishing feature of the small-sized nuclear power plant is that the two reactor plants are placed in individual containments within one building, which is a traditional layout for marine reactor plants. Such solution allows the systems and equipment like the refueling complex, the fresh/spent fuel and radwaste storage facility, the water treatment systems, etc., to be incorporated into one complex for simultaneously servicing both the reactor plants, while ensuring at the same time that both the reactor plants are independent—the independence almost the same as the one achieved when two single-reactor units are placed on the same site.
Small-Sized Nuclear Power Plant with the RITM-200 Reactor Plant
The RITM-200 reactor plant is designed for a multipurpose nuclear-powered icebreaker using the accumulated experience in designing, manufacturing and operating the OK-150, OK-900, OK-900А, KLT-40, and KLT-40М marine reactor plants.
Presently, the RITM-200 conceptual design for a small-sized nuclear power plant has been completed. The pilot design of the nuclear power plant based on the RITM-200 reactor plant is planned to be constructed in Russia.
The Floating Power Unit (FPU) is completely manufactured
at a shipbuilding plant.
The floating design of the power unit minimizes the volume and cost of the capital construction on the nuclear power operating site.
The floating power unit (FPU) is completely manufactured at a shipbuilding plant with using the mastered nuclear-powered icebreaker and navy ship construction process. After the fuel is loaded and the integrated testing is done, the FPU is transported to the operating site, where it is connected to shore grids and starts operating.
The customer gets environmentally clean electricity and heat, while the operator uses the existing process facilities and infrastructure of the Russian nuclear fleet to deal with the matters of nuclear fuel handling, proficient maintenance of the plant, and FPU decommissioning after it exhausts its lifetime.
The existing process facilities and infrastructure of the Russian nuclear fleet
are used to the maximum.
The energy sources that Afrikantov OKBM JSC developed on the basis of small-sized reactor plants may be used within a desalination complex to desalinate seawater, which is of special interest to the regions with a shortage of fresh water. An option is possible of using different desalination processes—either reverse osmosis (RO) or multi-effect distillation (MED). Many countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe, which suffer from severe shortages of fresh water, show interest in such complexes.
The lead 70 MWe FPU Akademik Lomonosov with two KLT-40S reactor plants developed by Afrikantov OKBM JSC became the first project of the State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM that allowed the advantages of the new technology to be verified. The FPU Akademik Lomonosov within a floating nuclear cogeneration plant (FNCP) is designed to supply heat and electricity to Pevek, Russia.
In Russia, FNCPs are in demand primarily in the Far North and Far East regions that are not covered by the unified power grid system and require reliable and economically competitive energy sources.
In 2018, in Murmansk, the two KLT-40S reactor plants reached their first criticality and generated electricity for the first time.
In 2020, the unique 70 MWe floating nuclear cogeneration plant Akademik Lomonosov, which is unparalleled in the world, was put into commercial operation in Pevek, Russia. The plant has two KLT-40S reactor plants designed by Afrikantov OKBM JSC.
It is planned, that the FNCP will start its full power operation by 2021 while replacing the Bilibino NPP, which will be decommissioned by that time. The FPU Akademik Lomonosov will be northernmost nuclear power plant in the world.
Considering that the FNCP with the FPU Akademik Lomonosov is the lead project, the start of its operation will allow one to speak about the practical use of nuclear energy for supplying remote regions with heat and electricity and about the reference of the underlying technologies.
The engineering solutions of the KLT-40S reactor plant design are legally protected, and presently Afrikantov OKBM JSC is the owner of the following intellectual work results:
- 4 inventions,
- 4 utility models,
- 26 computer programs,
- 79 production secrets (know-hows).
In order for the FNCP technology to evolve, the State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM is developing a new product in the segment of floating power plants—an optimized floating power unit (OFPU). It is assumed that two RITM-200M reactor plants will be installed on one OFPU to ensure the total electric power of the plant at a level of 100 MW. RITM-200M is an upgraded RITM-200 reactor plant with the refueling interval extended to 10 years. The major features of the OFPU include:
a reduced displacement of the vessel through equipment optimization;
extended cycle of operation (to 10 years) at the fuel enrichment less than 20%;
no refueling equipment onboard, which enhances the facility resistance in terms of nuclear non-proliferation and physical protection;
two options of the vessel design: non-self-propelled and self-propelled (with a dynamic positioning system).
The proposed solutions allow the OFPUs to be operated in the countries with the minimally developed nuclear infrastructure according to the BOO (Build Own Operate) scenario using the competences and the infrastructure of the Russian nuclear industry. This reduces the financial burden on a potential customer interested in electricity supply at a stable price.
Currently, the development of the conceptual design for the OFPU with a RITM-200 reactor plant has been completed; the preliminary design stage has begun. Considering the OFPU being unique from the legal point of view, Afrikantov OKBM JSC, along with working through engineering solutions, takes part in the work of the IAEA INPRO international project “Studying the Siting Scenarios for Small-Sized Reactor Plants with Loading the Fuel at the Manufacturing Plant”, the objective of which is to prepare recommendations on the regulatory support for the lifecycle of transportable small-sized reactor plants.
OFPU with the RITM-200M reactor plant
Medium-Sized Nuclear Power Stations
For a number of years, Afrikantov OKBM JSC has been developing the VBER reactor plants with a power of up to 600 MWe with modular pressurized water reactors and well-developed passive safety systems.
According to the IAEA classification, these plants pertain to medium-sized reactors.
The medium-sized units are designed to supply power to individual regions in Russia, developed and developing countries that do not require 1,000–1,500 MW units and that heavily depend on the purchasing cost or transportation cost of the fossil fuel.
The VBER plants may be used within medium-sized nuclear power plants to supply power to towns and large industrial and residential areas, oil extraction and/or refinery centers, liquefied natural gas (LNG) production centers, mining and processing combines, and desalination facilities.
The VBER reactor plants are developed with the use of the proven solutions and the latest achievements in marine technologies, including the reactor unit and the pressurized primary circuit with the solutions for the core and the operating cycle that are traditional for the nuclear power industry (VVER-1000). The design meets all the fundamental safety, reliability, and efficiency requirements for the advanced new-generation nuclear power plants.
The compactness inherent to the modular plants and the engineering solutions for systems and equipment tested in operation of the propulsion NSSSs open the way for cutting down the construction volumes, construction time, capital and operating costs in the situation with the stationary power generating industry, while enhancing safety and simplifying operation.
The important element of the process platform for the VBER plants is a unified heat transfer loop that enables the reactor plant unit generating capacity to be varied from 170 to 600 MWe and, accordingly, the power unit generating capacity to be varied through changing the number of the loops. To ensure that customers’ possible requirements are met, the basic features of the plants are the following:
the reactor plant is all-purpose (electricity, heat, desalination);
the modular design ensures large-module installation;
the technology is all-purpose and flexible for satisfying the requirements of potential customers.
The engineering solutions underlying the designs of the VBER reactor plants are legally protected, and today Afrikantov OKBM JSC is the right holder for:
- 5 inventions,
- 1 utility model,
- 13 computer programs,
- 43 production secrets (know-hows).