Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station

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Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station
Beloyarsk NNP.jpg
The Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant
Country Russia
Coordinates 56°50′30″N 61°19′21″E / 56.84167°N 61.32250°E / 56.84167; 61.32250Coordinates: 56°50′30″N 61°19′21″E / 56.84167°N 61.32250°E / 56.84167; 61.32250
Status Operational
Construction began 1958
Commission date 26 April 1964
Operator(s) Rosenergoatom
Nuclear power station
Reactor type SBR
Reactor supplier OKBM Afrikantov (Units 3 & 4)
Fuel type MOX fuel
Cooling source Pyshma River
Power generation
Units operational 1 × 600 MW
Units under const. 1 × 880 MW
Units decommissioned 1 × 108 MW
1 × 160 MW
Annual generation 3845 GW·h

The Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station (NPS) (Russian: Белоярская атомная электростанция им. И. В. Курчатова [About this sound pronunciation ]), was the second of the then 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.

Early reactors[edit]

Units 1 and 2

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.[1]

Although they were comparable in power to the Shippingport Atomic Power Station, the Soviet planners regarded the Beloyarsk reactors as prototypes.[2] 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.[2] The second unit, which used two turbines, had a similar conversion efficiency of about 36%.[1]

Later reactors[edit]

Cutaway model of the BN-600 reactor

Beloyarsk NPS was the first to put graphite-moderated reactors into operation to produce electrical power. The single reactor now in operation is a BN-600 fast breeder reactor, generating 600 MWe. It is the largest fast neutron power reactor in service in the world. Three turbines are connected to the 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% U235. In comparison, typical enrichment in other Russian reactors is in the range of 3–4% U235. BN-600 reactors use liquid sodium as a coolant. As with most Russian nuclear power plants, the station lacks a containment building.

Construction of the BN-800 reactor

Construction started on a larger BN-800 type fast breeder reactor in 1987. Protests halted progress in 1988, but work resumed in 1992 following an order by President Boris Yeltsin. Financial difficulties have resulted in slow progress. Construction costs have been estimated at 1 trillion rubles and the new reactor can only be finished in 2012–2015 given current scarce financing. The BN-600 was originally planned to be decommissioned in 2010 but its lifetime is likely to be extended to cover the gap; it has been operating since 1980 years so far.

On 27 June 2014, controlled nuclear fission has been 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 is, at the date, the only country that operates fast neutron reactors for energy production. The BN-800 has been put in the so-called critical state a week after all necessary nuclear fuel was loaded into the active zone. The reactor will be gradually prepared to achieve the 864 megawatts output, a power level expected to be reached in October, when the reactor will be commissioned for industrial use. In June 2014, the start of commercial operation of the new reactor was reportedly planned for early 2015,[3] later (December 2014) reported to be planned at the end of 2014.[4]

Unit Type El. Output (MW) Start of project First criticality Shut down
1 AMB-100 108 1958/06/01 1964/04/26 1983/01/01
2 AMB-200 160 1962/01/01 1967/12/29 1990/01/01
3 BN-600 600 1969/01/01 1980/04/08
4 BN-800 864 1987 2014/06/27
5 BN-1200 1220 indefinitely postponed[5] indefinitely postponed


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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b 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. 
  2. ^ a b 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. 
  3. ^ "Fast reactor starts clean nuclear energy era in Russia". RT - Russia Today. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Dollezhal, N. A. (1958). "The uranium-graphite reactor and superheated steam power stations". Journal of Nuclear Energy (1954) 7: 109. doi:10.1016/0891-3919(58)90242-0.  edit. For the design of first two reactors.


External links[edit]