The greatest amount of activity in this region is in Russia, whose programme is second only to China. At the beginning of 2014 it had 10 reactors under construction, although one (Baltic) is on hold (see box). Next is India, with six reactors under construction, and South Korea with five. Russia and India have fast breeder reactors under construction and Russia’s 789 MWe BN-800 at Beloyarsk will be the world’s most powerful fast reactor when it comes on line later this year. by Thecla Fabian
Russia has nine reactors under construction: six VVERs (PWRs) at four sites, a 789 MWe FBR at Beloyarsk, and two floating small modular reactors. State nuclear corporation Rosatom expects to put three of these units into operation in 2014.
Construction of Leningrad II 1 and 2 began in 2008 and 2010, respectively. Both units are 1200 MWe VVER V-491s (known as VVER AES-2006s). Two more units are planned for Leningrad II to replace the existing four units, which are due to be decommissioned between 2019 and 2026. First criticality of Leningrad II 1 is scheduled for 2015, with commercial operation in 2016. Commissioning of the second unit is tentatively set for 2016.
In January 2014, Titan-2 was named principal subcontractor to principal construction contractor Atomenergoproekt. Titan-2 will manage the entire construction process, supply equipment and implement especially complex work. It has established two corporate branches, one to manage plant construction and one to supply equipment. In 2014, it is expected to supply $643 million in construction and installation work and $106 million in equipment.
Titan-2 has installed a 170t overhead crane and a 440t bridge crane in the unit 2 turbine building. Some 480t of turbogenerator equipment, including high and low pressure turbines, are undergoing testing of the bearing housing in preparation for mounting. Titan-2 also is installing cabling.
Two 1200 MWe VVER AES-2006 with V-392M reactors, the prototype for the new generation of the AES-2006, are under construction at Novovoronezh-II 1 and 2 (see also ‘A world-class PWR from St Petersburg’, September 2013, pp. 32-9). Construction began in June 2008 and July 2009, respectively. First criticality of unit 1 is planned for December 2014, followed by unit 2 in 2015-2016. Atomenergoproekt won the contract for design and construction in an open tender in 2007.
The two units will each have four PGV- 1000MKP steam generators with 800 MW of thermal capacity and a 60-year operating life. The first, for unit 2, was delivered in February 2014. Atomenergoproekt said the Rosatom Production System was successfully used, with on-site pre-assembly of components and improved labour practices.
Rosatom expects to complete 1100 MWe VVER V-320 reactors at Rostov 3 and 4 (also known as Volgodonsk 3 and 4) in 2014 and 2016, respectively. Construction began on unit 3 in late 2009 and on unit 4 in June 2010. Nizhny Novgorod Atomenergoproekt (now NIAEP) won the tender to build units 3 and 4. When construction was approved in the early 1980s, Rosenergoatom planned to build four 1000MWe VVERs at Rostov. However, the startup of units 1 and 2, and the construction of units 3 and 4, were delayed. When NIAEP won the construction contract in 2009, it was for the somewhat larger VVER V-320 reactors.
NIAEP conducted unsealed reactor tests on unit 3 in April 2014 — the last step before final reactor assembly and pre-startup tests. Under a new commissioning schedule for Rostov 3 approved by Rosenergoatom in January, first criticality will be in October 2014, and grid connection in December, two months earlier than planned.
Rosenergoatom was preparing to begin commissioning Beloyarsk 4, a 789 MWe BN-800 fast neutron reactor, in April 2014. Construction began in 1986, but was put on hold because of funding difficulties and resumed in 2006. It will supersede Beloyarsk 3, Russia’s 560 MWe BN-600, as the world’s most powerful fast reactor. Regulator Rostechnadzor issued an operating licence and permits for fuel loading and a three- month programme of pre-startup testing. The BN-800 will use mixed oxide (MOX) fuel composed of uranium and weapons plutonium. Russia’s Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) in Dimitrovgrad developed the BN-800 technology. The World Association of Nuclear Operators conducted a two-week pre-startup peer review of Beloyarsk 4 in February.
A government regional energy planning programme to 2030 includes three next generation BN-1200 reactors: one at Beloyarsk (unit 5) and two for the planned South Urals plant. Construction of Beloyarsk 5 is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2015, with commercial operation in 2020.
Russia is building the first of two prototype floating nuclear power plants based on the KLT-40S reactor developed by OKBM Afrikantov to power Russia’s icebreakers. OKBM Afrikantov adapted the 38.5 MWe reactor to use low-enriched uranium fuel so it could be mounted on a barge to provide power to remote areas or for desalination. The reactor can be used to produce 35 MWe and 35 MWt for desalination or district heating. To allow for outages, two KLT-40S units are mounted on a 20,000t barge. Each unit can run for three or four years between refuelling. The barge is equipped with on-board refuelling capacity and used fuel storage. After 12 years, the entire plant will be towed to a central facility for maintenance and used fuel storage. It will require a crew of 69 people.
Construction of the first vessel, Akademik Lomonosov, began in 2007 at Sevmash Submarine Building Plant in Severodvinsk where the keel of the vessel was laid, but it was delayed due to financial difficulties. In October 2013, the shipyard installed the 220t KLT-40S reactors in the barge’s reactor compartment. NNAEP provided assembly and acceptance testing and OKBM Afrikantov provided technical support. Izhorskiye Zavody produced the reactor vessel and NNAEP manufactured and assembled parts for the reactor.
The latest schedule calls for Akademik Lomonosov to be delivered to Rosenergoatom, in 2016 for deployment near Pevek on Russia’s Chukotka peninsula on the East Siberian Sea. Rosatom plans to build seven similar plants. Four are expected to go to the northern coast of Siberia’s Yakutia. Russia also hopes to sell the plant abroad.
Belarus is building two 1200 MWe Russian- designed AES-2006 model VVERs at a site in Ostrovets, 16km from the Lithuanian border in the Grodono region.
Workers poured first concrete for Ostrovets 1 (also known as Belarusian 1) in November 2013. In March 2014 the Emergency Ministry’s Department for Nuclear & Radiation Safety (Gosatomnadzor) issued a permit to lay the foundations and pour first concrete for Ostrovets 2 in 2015, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom told this magazine.
Gosatomnadzor issued the Belarus Nuclear Plant Construction Directorate (Belarus AEC) with a full construction licence for unit 1 in April 2014 and it is scheduled to come on line in November 2018. Unit 2 commissioning is tentatively set for July 2020.
Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom won the right to build Ostrovets in an open tender that included French nuclear corporation AREVA and Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse. Belarus awarded the main construction contract to Rosatom’s foreign export division NIAEP-Atomstroyexport (ASE) in October 2011 and it signed the $10 billion turnkey contract for construction of two AES- 2006 units in July 2012.
ASE officials said in April that unit 1 is on schedule and unit 2 is 6-8 months ahead, with work begun in the foundations. Unit 2 might be commissioned early due to the faster pace, the officials said.
Slovakia has two 440 MWe Russian designed VVER 440/V-213 reactors under construction at Mochovce. Two reactors of the same type, uprated to 470 MWe, already operate at Mochovce and provide about 20% of Slovakia’s electricity.
Construction of Mochovce 3 and 4 began in 1985, but work was halted in 1991 due to a lack of funds. Construction restarted in November 2008, when units 3 and 4 were scheduled to come on line in 2012 and 2013. However, the start date was moved to 2014 and 2015. The owner and operator of Mochovce is state- owned utility Slovenske Elektrarne, whose major shareholder is Italian utility Enel. An Enel spokesperson told this magazine in April 2014 that startup is on schedule.
In August 2013, the Slovak government approved a $344 million increase in the construction budget to complete Mochovce 3 and 4 at the request of Enel — part of a $1.1 billion investment to meet stringent new safety standards put in place after Fukushima. The total cost of construction for the two units has increased to $5.3 billion.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is building its first nuclear power plant at Barakah near the Saudi Arabian border, which will have four units. Barakah 1 and 2 are under construction, and construction on Barakah 3 is expected to begin later in 2014. A South Korean consortium led by Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO) is providing all four units under a contract signed with Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) in 2009.
The KEPCO consortium is providing four South Korean-designed APR-1400 PWRs with a combined capacity of 5600 MWe. Construction began at Barakah 1 in July 2012 and Barakah 2 in May 2013.
ENEC said in February that construction of units 1 and 2 was more than 35% complete. Barakah 1 is scheduled to begin operation in 2017, and Barakah 2 in 2018, subject to regulatory approval. ENEC plans to apply for operating licences for both units in 2015. In February 2014, KEPCO completed installation of the unit 1 condenser, fabricated in South Korea. Its welding was completed inside the Barakah 1 containment after more than seven months. The construction team will now spend about a year completing the condenser fit-out.
ENEC applied for the Barakah 3 and 4 construction licences in March 2013 and has submitted an environmental impact assessment for the units to the Environment Agency. It plans to break ground on unit 3 later in 2014 and to have all four units in operation by 2020.
In late 2013, KEPCO awarded a $60 million infrastructure contract to Abu Dhabi- based Hilal Bil Badi & Partners Contracting Company (Hilalco) to fabricate the circulating water intake structures for all four units. The reinforced concrete structures will take approximately 45 months to build. They will provide cooling water for the turbine condensers and the turbine building cooling water heat exchangers. The CWIS also must protect the marine environment and meet the UAE Environment Agency’s requirements.
Once all four units are in operation, they will generate about 25% of UAE’s electricity. UAE ultimately plans to build 20 GWe or more of nuclear capacity to meet electricity demand growing at 9% per year.
Finland has one commercial power reactor currently under construction: unit 3 at private utility Teollisuuden Voima Oy’s (TVO’s) Olkiluoto, on the Gulf of Bothnia. Two other reactors are on the drawing board: a fourth unit at Olkiluoto and a Russian-designed VVER reactor at a green field site planned by the Fennovoima consortium.
Construction of Olkiluoto 3, the first-of-a- kind 1600 MWe European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) supplied by AREVA, began in May 2005, with completion originally scheduled for 2009. However the latest schedule has an uncertain completion date of 2016.
TVO selected an AREVA-lead consortium with Germany’s Siemens (73% AREVA, 27% Siemens) to build the plant under a December 2003 fixed price $4 billion turnkey contract, but costs have spiralled since.
After receiving TVO approval to begin tests to verify operation of the I&C, AREVA began testing in April 2014 in Erlangen, Germany.
Earlier in 2014, AREVA and TVO successfully completed two weeks of containment pressure and leak tightness tests. The sequenced measurement procedure verified that the structural behaviour of the containment is consistent with the design. Tests at 4.9 bar simulated a loss of coolant accident. About 90 sensors were used to measure containment temperature, pressure and humidity.
National regulators supervised the test sequence. AREVA says these were the first pressure and leak tightness tests ever conducted on an EPR, and the first pre-operational test of reactor containment conducted anywhere in Europe since 2001.
Relations between TVO and AREVA remain acrimonious. TVO continues to press AREVA for detailed clarifications on the contractor’s plans to complete work, as well as AREVA’s announcement that it plans to reduce subcontractors and personnel at the site. TVO fears that AREVA is diverting resources and attention to the EPR being built in Flamanville, France. AREVA is building two more EPRs in China.
The two companies are locked in a legal struggle in the International Court of Arbitration. In December 2013 AREVA increased its claim against TVO for alleged actions and inactions that delayed construction by $138.3 million, from $3.6 billion to $3.7 billion. It said its previous claim contained errors. TVO also has filed for almost £2.5 billion compensation from AREVA in its latest claim in October 2012.
TVO faces an additional problem. It plans to build a fourth unit at Olkiluoto and is coming up against government deadlines. Parliament has approved the plant in principle, but TVO must submit a construction application to the cabinet by 2015, or start the entire approval process over again. The utility is faced with the costs of planning, designing and financing unit 4 at the time unit 3 is under construction and not producing either electricity or revenue.
Nonetheless, TVO said that the bidding phase for the newest plant is nearing completion, bid comparisons are being prepared, and then TVO’s owners will decide how the project will move ahead, he said. AREVA is one of the bidders, along with South
Korea’s Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) and three Japanese companies (Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Toshiba). The selection has been complicated by the need to meet STUK’s new post-Fukushima safety standards.
French state-owned nuclear power plant operator Electricité de France (EDF) is building its 59th power reactor, a 1650 MWe EPR provided by AREVA. Construction at the Flamanville site in lower Normandy began in December 2007.
With schedule slippages, Flamanville may begin operation in 2016, the same year as Olkiluoto. China’s plant at Taishan, which began construction in 2009, is scheduled to start later this year, and Taishan 2 in 2015.
In January 2014, the 425t Flamanville 3 reactor pressure vessel, 11m high and 5.5m in diameter, was lowered into place using a gantry crane designed to bring heavy components into the reactor building. AREVA said that marked the ramp-up of installation work. AREVA and EDF will install the steam generators and pressuriser later in 2014.
AREVA manufactured the pressure vessel at its Saint Marcel plant and delivered it by ship to Flamanville in October 2013. Installation was postponed because national nuclear regulator ASN had concerns about the polar crane and associated heavy lifting equipment.
Civil engineering work at Flamanville was 95% complete when the dome was set in place in mid-July 2013, AREVA said. More than 2,850 employees are working at the site, of whom about 700 are guest workers from eastern Europe, mainly Poland and Romania.
Like its sister plant Olkiluoto 3, Flamanville has experienced significant delays and escalating costs. Costs have more than doubled from $5 billion in 2007 to $11.8 billion in 2014, while the start date has been pushed back from 2012 to 2016.
Five new-build units placed on hold
In the first four months of 2014, five new reactors, including two that were nearing startup, were placed on indefinite hold for a variety of political and economic — not technical — reasons.
The continuing conflict between Ukraine and Russia was the immediate cause of the halt to all work at Khmelnitsky 3 and 4 in Ukraine. But since 2008, only paper assistance has been provided, a Ukrainian source told this magazine. There has been no money from Russia and Ukraine is not investing, especially in its current crisis. Almost no construction or installation work has been done since the early 1990s. Work came to a complete halt as the Russia-Ukraine conflict began, and the fate of the units is extremely uncertain. They may never be completed.
On 28 April the government of Taiwan announced it was suspending construction of two 1350 MWe GE-Hitachi Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) at Lungmen. Only a few weeks earlier, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA) indicated unit 1 could begin operating by late 2014 or early 2015. Unit 2 was expected to come online in 2017. Construction of Lungmen 1 and 2 began in 1998 and 1999, respectively. However, the April announcement promised to mothball unit 1 as soon as pre- operational safety checks were completed. Construction of unit 2 was suspended immediately.
Lungmen has long been at the centre of a bitter struggle between Taiwan’s political parties. In late April, President Ma Ying-jeou from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said the government would conduct a national referendum on the future of Lungmen before allowing owner Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) to load fuel in unit 1. However, KMT did an about-face a week later as thousands of demonstrators took to the street to protest the completion of the plant. KMT announced that it would suspend the project as soon as the unit 1 safety checks were completed. Construction on the 90% complete unit 2 was halted immediately. Taiwan has spent $9.9 billion on Lungmen. The original plan called for unit 1 to begin operating in 2006 and unit 2 in 2007. However, numerous political, legal and regulatory delays have hampered the project.
Russian state nuclear utility Rosenergoatom has indefinitely suspended construction of the 1109 MWe VVER V-491 at Baltic 1 in Kaliningrad. The original plan was to host two VVER V-491 units, and construction on unit 1 began in February 2012. At that time, Rosenergoatom expected to connect the unit to the grid in January 2017 and begin commercial operation by December 2017. However, work was temporarily suspended in June 2013 and equipment was put into safe storage while a government commission attempted to forge a strategy for development of the Kaliningrad region’s power supply system. At the time work was suspended, 20-25% of the project’s $6.2 billion 2013 budget had been spent.
Rosenergoatom said it needed to review the size of the plant in light of the possibility that a regional power grid might not be developed in the near future, and that foreign customers for Baltic NPP’s power might not materialise. Officials said unit 1 might remain in mothballs indefinitely if Rosenergoatom opts to build a smaller power reactor, but work at the site would proceed.