VVER-1200 Reactor – Western Technological Sanctions Destroyer
Russian Rosatom awarded Turkey the status of a nuclear power. It’s about the country’s first “Akkuyu” nuclear power plant. This status is still purely peaceful. However, no one cancelled the presence of the American nuclear arsenal based on Injirlik. But we will distract from the political component of this issue. We will focus on the technical side of the issue and the benefits of constructing the Turkish nuclear power plant for Russia.
The main thing that can be stated at the moment is that the technological competencies of Russia are in demand on the world market. Among the first are the nuclear reactors of the VVER-1200 series.
This is the main export product of Rosatom. In addition to Akkuyu nuclear power plants in Belarus are being built around such reactors in the Grodno region, Egyptian atomic power plant El Dabaa, Hungarian Paks-2 NPP Ruppur in Bangladesh, a pair of power units of the booming atomic power plant Tianwan and two power units of the constructed nuclear power plant Suydapu in China.
The reactors of the previous VVER-1000 series are located at the largest nuclear power plant in India, Kudankulam, which will be finally put into operation no earlier than 2025.
Foreign customers love Russian VVER-1200!
At first glance, nothing is outstanding in this product. According to the IAEA classification, this is a typical water-water reactor or PWR. Water performs two functions – neutron deceleration and heat transfer from the reactor core to the turbines.
On Akkuyu, four Russian VVER-1200 reactors are being built. Each of them has a capacity of 1200 MW. This should be enough for the electricity supply of almost the entire Istanbul.
On April 27, the first nuclear fuel was solemnly loaded into the reactor. It was remotely attended by the presidents of Russia and the Republic of Turkey. This is not yet the launch of the nuclear power plant. However, it is very significant for Turkey.
Fuel for VVER-1200 consists of nuclear tablets weighing several grams, up to 12 mm high and a standardised diameter of 7.6 mm. Each tablet is baked for 4-5 hours at a thousand degrees. It brings the raw materials to a ceramic state. The Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant is engaged in releasing fuel concentrate. It seems the company will not be left without orders for a long time.
Next, pills are loaded into the tubular heat-selecting element (TVEL) from a zirconium alloy, strictly 350 pieces each. Further, each TVEL builds a heat-separating assembly – in each of the 313 TVELs. The active area of each rector holds 163 such groups. The developers Akkoy intend to supply the first commercial electricity in 2025.
The safety is the main thing making VVER-1200 popular
The main thing in the VVER-1200 reactors is not even fuel and efficiency. Its safety is the highest in the world among all structures. In addition, the location of the Turkish Akkuyy was chosen as the most seismically calm place in the country.
The project’s authors calculated the resistance to the 9-point earthquake and the 8-point tsunami. Each reactor stands on a two-meter foundation, and the walls are one-and-a-half meters thick. It must withstand the fall of the intercontinental liner without consequences. The nuclear power plant will live without significant repairs for up to 80 years. Then, most likely, the station will finally become obsolete.
The safety of VVER-1200 provides a unique autonomous cooling system that ensures the reactor’s safety even with the complete de-energization of the station. A particular trap is provided for molten nuclear fuel. This is a large cone under the reactor, filled with aluminium and iron oxides, designed to extinguish the gigantic melt temperature.
Made in Russia
The construction of Akkuyu in Turkey launched a chain reaction within Russia. Since this is a domestic project, all components are built in Russia. And not only that – now three Russian universities are connected to a training program for Turkish specialists in the nuclear industry.