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3 Apr 2017

Reactor pressure vessel installed into first unit of Belarusian nuclear power plant

MINSK, 3 April (BelTA) – The reactor pressure vessel has been installed as part of the first power-generating unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, BelTA learned from representatives of the ASE Group, which is the general contractor for building the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

According to the source, the reactor pressure vessel of the first power-generating unit was installed into its designated position at 20:30 on 1 April.

The VVER-1200 reactor pressure vessel was made by AEM Technologies Company (part of Atomenergomash, which is the mechanical engineering division of the Russian state corporation Rosatom). Before the installation operation the vessel passed an incoming inspection and was found to meet all the regulatory requirements. Members of the commission, which included representatives of the engineering company ASE and the state enterprise Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant, checked the contents of the package and the quality of design documents and transport documents. Special equipment was used for visual examination, for measurement control, and other kinds of control. The incoming inspection confirmed the quality of the product and the reactor pressure vessel was handed over to the installation crew.

The installation operation included two stages. The reactor pressure vessel weighs over 330 tonnes. It is 11 meters long and 4.5 meters in diameter. The piece of equipment was lifted onto the transport gantry and moved to the central chamber on rails. After that a polar crane placed the vessel into a vertical position and put it on the bearing ring inside the reactor pit.

“Installing a reactor pressure vessel into its specified position requires pinpoint precision,” noted Vitaly Medyakov, Vice President for the Belarusian nuclear power plant project at AO NIAEP (part of the ASE Group). “Since the bearing ring handles all the weight, the axes of the reactor pressure vessel and the bearing ring cannot deviate from each other by more than one millimeter.”

“It is one of the key steps in building a power-generating unit,” stressed Sergei Olontsev, Senior Vice President for managing Russian projects in the ASE Group. “Once installed into the specified position, the reactor pressure vessel represents the reference point for installing the main circulation lines of the reactor unit.”

The VVER-1200 reactor is a new-generation piece of equipment. It is the most powerful reactor made by Russia today. These water-moderated power reactors boast high output, longevity, and safety. The equipment is designed to operate for 60 years.

The design used to build the Belarusian nuclear power plant is a cutting-edge one on the international scale. It matches the strictest international norms and recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

A combination of active and passive safeguards is the key peculiarity of the VVER-1200 design. The design boasts a dual protective shell and a core catcher that will stop radiation from leaking into the outside world. The design is compliant with requirements for the 3+ generation of nuclear power reactors. The solutions the design has implemented are compliant with post-Fukushima requirements for the reliable operation of the nuclear power plant and its resilience to external impacts and internal malfunctions.

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