The first concrete pour for the generation 3+ VVER reactor at the Kursk-II project in western Russia began on April 29, Rosatom said.
Phase II of the Kursk facility will consist of four VVER-TOI units, the upgraded version of the VVER-1200 reactor. They are to replace to four RBMK reactors that make up the Kursk NPP, but are due to be retired soon. The launch of the first two new units, to be operational in 2020 and 2023, are scheduled to coincide with the closure of Kursk Units 1 and 2.
While some markets are pursuing small reactors, Rosatom is still focused on the full-scale units. Kursk NPP director Vyacheslav Fedyukin said that the VVER-TOI design signified the direction the nuclear power industry was taking in Russia.
Atomenergoproekt introduced the VVER-TOI design in 2010. Each unit has a net capacity 25 percent higher than the VVER-1200 reactors at 1255 MWe. The design features include increased passive cooling capabilities and include a window of 72 hours in which no operator intervention is required in the event of a coolant emergency. They are also designed to withstand an 8.0- to 9.0-magnitude earthquake, which is significantly higher than the rating for the VVER-1200, which was designed to withstand a 7.0 -magnitude tremor.
Overall, the units are expected to take 40 percent less time top build than a VVER-1200 reactor with the date of start up for Phase II Unit 1 expected in 2023.
The concrete pour involves the use of self-compacting concrete, Nuclear Engineering International reported. The foundation will eventually include 16,000 cubic meters of concrete.
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