Kursk II Site Receives Reactor Pressure Vessel

It was a long trip and a move-over load, but Russian nuclear power corporation Rosatom said this week the “atomic heart” of the future Kursk II Unit 1 reactor--the VVER-TOI reactor pressure vessel VVER-TOI--had arrived its final destination, the construction site in Kurchatov in southwestern Russia.
Kursk pressure reactor vesselFrom producer to plant, it was a journey of 1,800 kilometers or 1,118 miles -- about the distance from Sacramento to Denver. The reactor vessel hit the road weighing in at 340 tons. It is 12-meters long, made of nickel-less steel, and capable of withstanding the pressure of 250 atmospheres, almost half again as much as it will experience in standard operations and the equivalent of ocean pressure at a depth of 2.5 km or 1.5 miles.
 
“The reactor pressure vessel VVER-TOI has its features. For example, unlike the reactor pressure vessel VVER-1200, the number of welds there has been reduced from six to four: welds in the core region are eliminated. This reduces radiation impact on welds and improves performance characteristics of the item which allows for extended service life "for another 40 years after 60-year operation,” said Andrei Osharin, First Deputy Director for New Units Construction of Kursk NPP.
 
The transportation of the super-heavy off-standard load was logistically complicated. From the place of manufacture – Atommash in Volgodonsk – the equipment was delivered to the special pier at the Tsimlyanskoye Water Body, loaded on a barge, and delivered by water to the city of Semiluki in Voronezh Region. The river route was 1,500 kilometers. In some places, the river bottom had to be deepened for the barge to pass. Then, the item traveled another 300 kilometers on a special truck to Kurchatov.
 
Prior to shipment, road covers were strengthened and repairs on 5 bridges was carried out. And additional 1.5 km of a by-road was constructed. The transportation was then carried out with observance of special traffic speed,” Aleksandr Uvakin, Acting Director of Kursk NPP, explained.
 
Units 1 and 2 of Kursk NPP 2 pertain to Generation III+ and are pilot units that are constructed to VVER-TOI design (standard optimized informalized water-water power reactor). They meet all safety requirements of the IAEA. The Engineering Division of ROSATOM – ASE – designs and constructs the facility. This is a new project created by Russian architects on the basis of technical solutions of the NPP project with VEER-1200 reactors. They have higher power capacity, performance indicators, and higher robustness to extreme external impacts and natural disasters.

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