JSC “Afrikantov OKBM” of Nizhny Novgorod, the company that designed the RITM-200 marine reactor plant, is getting down to work on a project for adapting its product for land-based nuclear power stations. Yury Fadeyev, the Chief Designer of Pressurized Water Reactor Plants in JSC “Afrikantov OKBM”, told RC how and for what it is being done.
— RITM‑200 may become a basis for medium-sized reactors. How can this be done, from the engineering point of view?
— RITM-200 installed in an icebreaker, taking into account its own power consumption, generates 30 MWe per one unit. Without changing the reactor design, just by optimizing reactor plant parameters and thermal schematic, this power may be increased to 50 MW. If we are speaking about the medium-sized nuclear power stations, a few hundred megawatts could be built up through putting together a number of modular reactor plants like RITM-200. This is one of the world’s trends now. However, everything will be determined by economics — by whether or not this scheme is going to be competitive. The objective of ensuring competitiveness will be achieved at the level of the whole station — for example, by the architectural design, modularity, etc.
— Let us speak then in more detail about what it is to be done to put RITM-200 on the ground.
— I’ll repeat it again, there is no need to do anything with the reactor plant — the main equipment in the reactor plant will remain unchanged. Most likely, the power unit layout will change — the locations of the equipment in the rooms at the station. Plus, a certain upgrade will have to be made on the refueling complex in connection with the land-based conditions. Additional fuel handling equipment will be added, which the icebreaker does not have. Also, an upgraded high-power turbine will have to be installed in the land-based power unit. Of course, purely architectural design solutions are important — we got to avoid large construction work scopes, try to switch over to promptly erected structures — finished or prefabricated.
— How do you think, is it more expensive to build a land-based plant than an icebreaker plant?
— The reactor plant will cost practically the same. And if a nuclear power station and an icebreaker are compared, I think that the station will be somewhat more expensive. First, additional equipment is required for the nuclear power station; second, the icebreaker plant is a fully factory made product. By definition, it’s got to be cheaper.
— Are there specs that you are striving to achieve?
— Our specialists now are developing a technical assignment where the target specs will be stated. Whether or not we are going to achieve them, it is a matter of performing the design work.
— Which companies are going to be partners in the project?
— Ours is only the reactor plant. We will have to function as a work integrator, a technical manager. The stations themselves will be developed by specialized organizations. Is it going to be ASE or is it going to be another organization — this matter is now being decided upon. We are studying this matter jointly with Rosenergoatom and ROSATOM.
— What are your thoughts on why ROSATOM started to think about developing land-based power units with RITM-200?
— Because there are many consumers for this power level, mostly abroad. ROSATOM wants to see what economic parameters we are going to get and if we will be able to promote this product at the external market. And at the internal market too.
— What are the markets you are speaking about?
— Nuclear power stations with RITM-200 are designed to operate either with low-current grids, or in local, limited power systems for a specific consumer.
The internal market for them is undeveloped regions, like the Urals, Siberia, the territories that are being developed and lack for electricity.
As for the external market, now we are contacting Indonesia, Philippines. There are many islands that have a huge shortage of electricity. Outside Russia, in particular in Turkey, there are sufficiently large companies operating fossil-fueled floating power generating units. And these are units with the installed power of up to 300 MW. There are consumers in West Africa,
East Africa, Indonesia. They have quite high cost of kilowatt-hour; nonetheless, electricity is bought at this price there.
— You said that you are writing the technical assignment for a land-based nuclear power station. When will the work on the conceptual design be finished?
— We are planning to start the work literally in the fourth quarter of this year. We hope to finish the conceptual design in the first or in the middle of the second quarter the next year.
— Who is a customer for the work?
— Rosenergoatom will be the customer. Rosenergoatom funds the work too.
— What is going to happen after you prepare the conceptual design for a land-based nuclear power station with RITM‑200?
— Based on the conceptual design, an economic model will be built. We will estimate it jointly with the general designer and Rosenergoatom.
— Does it mean that with the development of the land-based nuclear power station with RITM-200 reactor plants OKBM abandons the VBER water-moderated, water-cooled modular reactor design?
— No, it does not. You see, VBER is in another power range — it is up to 600 MWe. It is another story that it has to have sufficiently large power centers; hence, considering today’s conditions in the Russian economy, the development of VBER has been put to a pause for the time being. I hope this work will continue in due time.