And what has the rabbit thought?

Published project of the economic development of Russia till 2020 - "Conception 2020" provides the construction of NPPs of the small and medium capacity for the power supplying to the isolated Russian energy zones and for the developing world economies. Appearance of small and medium - capacity reactors is called one of the indicators of reaching the aims of the state policy in the nuclear industry.

The fact of mentioning of small NPPs in program of the government is gratifying, but the absence of the specifics alerts. However, as a lot of people have noticed, friability and amorphism is characteristics to the whole item of the Conception, devoted to the nuclear energy.

What can be hiding above the restrained comments of the conception and what projects can be realized during the next decade?

According to the IAEA graduation small nuclear energy is the reactors with the maximum capacity of 300 MWe. In Russia by the "small NPPs" is frequently understood autonomous energy sources with the maximum capacity level of 50-100 MWe. And the minimum level was set by Vladimir Asmolov not so long ago, he has called power generating units of the capacity lower then 20 MWe not economically justified.

Not so many facilities, that have real chances to be constructed, fit in the frameworks of the given range (20-100 MWe). Frankly speaking there are two of them - floating NPP with KLT-40 reactor and a lead-bismuth SVBR.

Successful trial runs and use of this technology at the icebreaker fleet and the beginning of the construction of head units "Academic Lomonosov" in Severodvinsk can be considered as a main advantage of KLT-40. Though the exploitation experience of the propulsion reactors can?t be unambiguously implemented at the NPP facilities, and this month during the works at ?Sevmash? occurred a known sad discomfiture.

Main problem of KLT-40 was defined during the times of the Soviet Union. There are no enough consumers for the series of floating power generating units of such a capacity, and without serial production economic indexes of KLT-40 power units are very low even on paper. That is why ?Rosatom? has brave ideas of sending floating NPP to Indonesia or Cabo-Verde, which make non-proliferation experts very anxious.

In these circumstances SVBR-100 or its modifications with the lower capacity can become the only Russian small reactors. Moreover, companies of Oleg Deripaska have already taken their interest in this technology. But ?Rosatom? is not in a hurry to prove or disprove the brilliant lead-bismuth prospective. Moreover it seems to be that a certain informational taboo was put on this topic at the State corporation.

If we extend the capacity frameworks, we can see two more candidates to the role of small NPP. Last year regional consumers, particularly in Yakutia, appreciated a project of the unit with ABV-6 reactor (6 megawatts of electricity and 12 giga-calories of heat).

On the top of the small capacity range there is VBER-300 project, which is supposed to be developed together with Kazakhstan. 30 mln. roubles have been spent for this project in Russia, and what they have thought in Kazakhstan, no one will know because they (Kazakhs) are much too polite.

SOURCE: Vladimir Rychin, AtomInfo.Ru

DATE: August 28, 2008

Topics: Russia, Small NPP

Rambler's Top100