Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station
|Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station|
The Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant
|Commission date||26 April 1964|
|Nuclear power station|
|Reactor supplier||OKBM Afrikantov (Units 3 & 4)|
|Fuel type||MOX fuel|
|Cooling source||Pyshma River|
1 × 600 MW|
1 × 880 MW
|Units planned||1 × 1220 MW|
1 × 108 MW|
1 × 160 MW
|Nameplate capacity||1,480 MW|
|Annual net output||10,100 GW·h (planned)|
The Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station (NPS; Russian: Белоярская атомная электростанция им. И. В. Курчатова [ pronunciation (help·info)]) was the third of the Soviet Union's nuclear plants. It is situated by Zarechny in Sverdlovsk Oblast, Russia. Zarechny township was created to service the station, which is named after the Beloyarsky District. The closest city is Yekaterinburg.
Two earlier reactors were constructed at Beloyarsk: an AMB-100 reactor (operational 1964–1983) and an AMB-200 reactor (operational 1967–1989).
Both were supercritical water reactors; the first unit used 67 tons of uranium enriched to 1.8%, while the second unit used 50 tons of uranium enriched to 3.0%. The first unit had an indirect steam cycle, while the second had a direct one.
Although they were comparable in power to the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the Soviet planners regarded the Beloyarsk reactors as prototypes. Their main novelty was the use of superheated steam ran through a standard turbine thus resulting in a better efficiency compared to the earlier Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant pilot plant. The first Beloyarsk unit produced about 285 MW heat of which about 100 MW were converted to electricity. The second unit, which used two turbines, had a similar conversion efficiency of about 36%.
Two reactors are now in operation: a BN-600 fast breeder reactor, generating 600 MWe gross and a BN-800 fast breeder reactor, generating 880 MWe gross. The BN-800 is the largest fast neutron power reactor in service in the world. Three turbines are connected to the BN-600 reactor. The BN-600 reactor core is 1.03 metres (41 in) tall and has a diameter of 2.05 metres (81 in). It has 369 fuel assemblies, each consisting of 127 fuel rods with an enrichment of 17–26% 235U. In comparison, typical enrichment in other Russian reactors is in the range of 3–4% 235U. BN-600 reactors use liquid sodium as a coolant. As with most Russian nuclear power plants, the station lacks a containment building.
Construction started on the larger BN-800 fast breeder reactor in 1987. Protests halted progress in 1988, but work resumed in 1992 following an order by President Boris Yeltsin. Financial difficulties resulted in slow progress. Construction costs have been estimated at 1 trillion rubles and the new reactor was expected to be finished in 2012–2015. The BN-600 was originally planned to be decommissioned in 2010 but its lifetime was expected to be extended to cover the gap; it has been operating since 1980.
On 27 June 2014, controlled nuclear fission started in the BN-800 fast breeder reactor. The newest reactor helps to close the nuclear fuel cycle and to achieve a fuel cycle without or with less nuclear waste. Russia was, at the date, the only country that operates fast neutron reactors for energy production. However issues detected during low power operation required further fuel development work. On 31 July 2015, the unit again achieved minimum controlled power again, at 0.13% of rated power. Commercial operations are expected to start before the end of 2016, now with a power rating of 789 MWe. In December 2015, Unit 4 was connected to the national grid.
|Unit||Type||El. Output (MW)||Start of project||First criticality||Shut down|
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The two gravest incidents at Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant struck the two reactors which are now shut down. In 1977 half of the fuel rods melted down in the ABM-200 reactor. Operators were exposed to severe radiation doses, and the repair work took more than a year. In December 1978 the same reactor caught fire when parts of the roof fell on one of the turbines' oil tanks. Cables were destroyed by the fire, and the reactor went out of control. Eight people who assisted in securing cooling of the reactor core were exposed to increased radiation doses.
In recent years there have been problems with leakage of liquid metal from the BN-600 cooling system. In December 1992 there was a leakage of radioactive contaminated water at the reactor. In October 1993 increased concentrations of radioactivity in the power plant fan system were found. A leakage the following month led to a shutdown. In January and May 1994 there was a fire at the power plant. In July 1995 another leakage of liquid metal from the cooling elements caused a two-week shutdown of the reactor.
There is an increasing concern about radioactive contamination around the power plant. Several hotspots were discovered in the region, as the radiation monitoring effort was extended in recent years.
- Steven B Krivit; Jay H Lehr; Thomas B Kingery, eds. (2011). Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia: Science, Technology, and Applications. Wiley. pp. 318–319. ISBN 978-1-118-04347-9.
- Paul R. Josephson (2005). Red Atom: Russia's Nuclear Power Program from Stalin to Today. University of Pittsburgh Pre. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-8229-7847-3.
- "Fast reactor starts clean nuclear energy era in Russia". RT - Russia Today. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- "Fast reactor progress at Beloyarsk". Nuclear Engineering International. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "Rosenergoatom already learning from BN-800". World Nuclear Association. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Russia connects BN-800 fast reactor to grid". World Nuclear Association. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- Russia has ambitious plans for MOX fuel and its BN-1200 fast reactor
- Dollezhal, N. A. (1958). "The uranium-graphite reactor and superheated steam power stations". Journal of Nuclear Energy (1954). 7 (1–2): 109. doi:10.1016/0891-3919(58)90242-0. For the design of the first two reactors.
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