Rosenergoatom: the new reactor facility life extension technology has been nominated for the Russian Government Science and Technology Award

To honour their contribution in the implementation of the high-capacity VVER (VVER-1000) reactor recovery anneal technology, the following people were nominated for the Russian Government Award: Alexander Shutikov, the First Deputy CEO in charge of NPP operation at the Rosenergoatom Joint-Stock Company; Valeriy Bessonov, the director at the Balakovo NPP; Yury Ryzhkov, deputy Chief Engineer of Safety and Reliability at the Balakovo NPP.

The VVER nuclear reactor vessel anneal process was fully developed in Russia. A similar technology has already been successfully implemented at medium-range VVER-440 type reactors of the Novovoronezh and the Kolsk NPPs, which helped to expand their life span up to 60 years. However, this was the first time in the history of the Russian nuclear power industry when such procedure was completed at a high-capacity VVER-1000 type reactor (pressurized water type reactor with the capacity of 1 gigawatt).

Compared to its predecessors (VVER-440), the new reactors are bigger in diameter, the vessel walls are much thicker, and a different type of steel is used. All of those called for a new anneal technology.

The works were completed in November 2018, as a result of which the Balakovo NPP 1st power block’s reactor facility life span was extended for over 23 years.

‘The cost advantage thanks to the life extension is around 161 billion rubles’, Alexander Shutikov noted. ‘Additionally, thanks to this extension, we no longer need to build the replacement power and to allocate territories for the new construction’.

The ‘Development, mode provisioning and implementation of VVER reactor vessel recovery anneal for life extension’ program has been nominated for the Award jointly with a number of other organizations: NRC “Kurchatov Institute”, CRISM “Prometey”, Rosenergoatom Joint-Stock Company, OKB “GIDROPRESS” and JSC RPA “CNIITMASH”.

All works were delivered with the involvement of the Balakovo NPP, the Balakovo Office of Atomenergoremont and JSC “TermIks” teams.

* The reactor vessel anneal procedure is currently the most effective technology to restore the physical and mechanical properties of reactor vessel metal, which is affected by neutron exposure and long impact of high operating temperature. The reactor vessel is the most critical and integral element of a nuclear power facility, and the nuclear power block’s durability highly relies on the vessel’s life span.

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