Call it a dress rehearsal. On March 7, technicians began loading dummy fuel assemblies (DFA) into the reactor of power unit No.2 of Belarus NPP, said nuclear industrial Rosatom, the General Designer and the General Contractor for the project.
This process is a prerequisite “and a kind of a dry run of the fuel load into the reactor,” Rosatom said. It includes inter alia, handling of transport and process operations regarding the DFA movement from the special fresh fuel storage facility to the reactor building and confirmation of the refueling machine readiness. In the process, the reactor core is buttoned down in a simulation exercise to test machinery, processing and specifications of the soon-to-be-activated power plant.
Dummies are true copy of fuel assemblies (FA), having the same design in terms of weight, dimensions and materials, but do not contain nuclear fuel. They are intended for use during commissioning at the stage of cold and hot tests of the reactor plant.
Symbolically, “the start of DFA loading is a confirmation of the readiness of the reactor, transport and process equipment and its tooling, systems and main equipment of the reactor plant for the stage of cold and hot testing in order to check them for compliance with design characteristics and safety requirements,” said the vice president-director for Belarus NPP construction project of JSC ASE EC Vitaly Polyanin.
After loading all 163 DFA, specialists will complete the assembly of the reactor and, having received the appropriate permits, will proceed to the stage of hydraulic tests, which opens a huge cycle of mandatory and strictly regulated technologically complex processes carried out during the preparation of the power unit for physical start-up.
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