Kursk II is a 2.5GW nuclear power plant (NPP) under-construction to replace two ageing reactor units of the existing Kursk nuclear power station that has been operational since 1976 in Kursk Oblast, Russia.
Rosenergoatom, a subsidiary of Russian state-owned nuclear company Rosatom, is developing the facility with an estimated investment of £2.4bn ($3.5bn).
The Kursk II NPP will comprise two advanced pressurises water reactor (PWR) units of 1.25GW capacity each. It will be the world’s first NPP to use VVER-TOI reactor design.
Construction works on units one and two of Kursk II were started in April 2018 and April 2019, with commissioning expected in September 2023 and August 2024 respectively.
The Kursk II nuclear power plant is being built in a site adjacent to the existing Kursk NPP at Makarovka near Kurchatov, in Kursk Oblast, Russia. The project site is situated approximately 40km south-west of the Kursk city.
The Kursk II plant make-up
Each power block of the Kursk II nuclear energy facility will comprise a reactor building, a reactor auxiliary building, a turbine building, and a 179m-tall evaporative cooling tower.
Each reactor building will house a VVER-TOI PWR reactor unit with 1,255MW gross electrical and 3,300MW gross thermal capacity. The outer containment structure for each reactor will be 65.4m high with its width varying between 0.5 and 1.5m.
The reactor-auxiliary buildings will measure 66m-long, 60m-wide, and 32.6m-tall.
Standing 179m-high, the Kursk II cooling towers will be the tallest cooling tower in Russia. The ring footing radius of each cooling tower of the plant will be 71.7m.
VVER-TOI reactor design
VVER-TOI, also known as V-510, is a Gen III+ PWR reactor with design improvements to the reactor vessel and steam generator of the VVER-1200 reactor. It also comes with 25% increase capacity compared to the previous generation VVER-1000 reactor design.
Designed by ASE Group, the engineering division of the Rosatom, the operating life of the VVER-TOI reactor is estimated to be 60 years.
The VVER-TOI design which is based on the AES-2006/V-392M design was announced by Atomenergoproekt, a subsidiary of ASE Group, in 2010.
Kursk II construction progress
The site preparatory work for the Kursk II power plant was started in December 2013, while the concrete works for units one and two were started in April 2018 and April 2019 respectively.
An onsite facility to produce steel fibre reinforced concrete panels for the construction of the NPP was launched in July 2019.
The ground floor for the unit one outer reactor containment was completed in February 2020. The ground floor of the reactor-auxiliary building of the second power bock was also completed in the same month.
Five containers weighing 10t each to store liquid waste were installed in the unit one auxiliary reactor building in March 2020.
The installation of framework columns for the unit one turbine building was started in September 2019 and completed in April 2020. The emergency control room wall for the first power block was also concreted in April 2020.
The assembly of unit one reactor vessel is scheduled to take place in 2021.
Contractors involved with the Kursk II project
Rosatom’s subsidiary ASE Group is responsible for the design as well as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of the Kursk II nuclear power project.
Atomenergomash, the mechanical engineering division of Rosatom, will supply the steam generators, while its subsidiary SverdNIIChimmash will provide liquid radioactive waste treatment facility for the Kursk II NPP.
Rusatom Automated Control Systems (RASU) was awarded a £283m ($347m) contract to develop, supply and commission the instrumentation and control systems for the Kursk II nuclear power plant in April 2018.
RASU subcontracted Framatome to provide a reactor protection system for this project in April 2020.
RASU is also supplying 330kV gas-insulated switch gears and transformers for the plant under a separate contract.
HMS Group received a £37m ($48m) contract to supply 188 pumping units for the project in May 2017. The pumping units include main feed pumps, auxiliary feedwater, and condensate pumps, as well as primary cycle and component cooling water pumps.
The existing Kursk nuclear power plant comprises four RBMK-1000 light water graphite reactor (LWGR) units of 1GW capacity each. The first unit at the facility was commissioned in December 1976 while the last unit commenced operations in December 1985.
The 4GW Kursk NPP is the biggest power plant in the Central Black Earth region of Russia. It produces approximately 50% of the electric power consumed in this region.
The four existing units of the Kursk NPP are planned to be retired between 2023 and 2031.