Libmonster ID: UA-12172
Author(s) of the publication: Marina KHALIZEVA

by Marina KHALIZEVA, Science in Russia observer

The forecasts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) draw attention to a considerable increase in the number of atomic power plants in the course of the next 20 years designed in different parts of the world. Atom for peace can further power safety of states, reduce influence of unstable prices on organic fuel, mitigate effects of climatic changes and make national economies more competitive. Such were conclusions made by the participants of the 6th International Forum Atomexpo-2014 held under auspices of Rosatom state corporation in June of 2014 at the Arcade, one of the business grounds of the country located 150 m from the Kremlin.

The previous meeting of leaders of the major world companies operating in the atomic power sector was held in the Mikhailovsky Manege of St. Petersburg* in 2013 and was attended by above 2,000 specialists from 42 countries. The present forum

*See: M. Khalizeva, "Trends of Atomic Power Engineering Development", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2013.-Ed.

was attended by 3,544 members from 600 organizations (almost half of them from abroad). The main feature of the forum was a feeling of interest of the rapidly developing countries such as Argentina, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and the South African Republic, which experiences special need in atomic power engineering.

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COMMERCIAL COMPETITIVENESS OF ATOMIC POWER PLANTS

Deputy General Director of IAEA Alexander Bychkov reminded at the plenary session that today 72 energy blocks are under construction in the world, i.e. by 10 units more than in the past year. By 2030 the volume of atomic energy capacities will double and make ~727 hW. China and South Korea will take the lead in this parameter (their atomic power capacity will increase 3.5 times-from the present 83 hW to 268 hW). They are followed by countries of the Eastern Europe planning to increase their energy block output 2.5 times-from 48 hW to 124 hW. An insignificant growth of atomic power generation is expected in the North America. In other parts of the planet such as the South-East Asia, the Pacific region, Latin America and Africa these processes will start only after 2030.

The plenary session discussed the problem of an increased share of atomic power in the world power balance (as yet it makes up only 15-17 percent). General Director of Rosatom state corporation Sergei Kirienko

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believes that it can be achieved by the price reduction of 1 kWh by 10-15 percent at the expense of acceleration of atomic plant construction, mechanisms of loan financing on beneficial terms and putting into operation of low-and medium-power reactors. These measures will allow a double increase of the atomic energy share in the total generation of electric power.

Besides, nowadays commercial competitiveness of companies which supply nuclear technologies acquires paramount importance. Today only knowledge of constructing an atomic plant is not enough. The customer requires also its stable operation with good economic performance. For this purpose the customer shall be assisted in training of personnel, getting operation technologies and working out methods of fuel supply and radioactive waste handling, reactor repair and dismantling on expiry of service life. In a word, the responsibility of the project contractor extends actually for the whole life cycle of the atomic power plant, which is 60-80 years now. Not many companies operating in the market of construction of atomic power plants can make such a long-term integrated offer. Rosatom is among such "selected" companies. It offers a complete set of products in a whole processing chain from mining of natural uranium to decommissioning of atomic power plant.

Moreover, Rosatom realizes a rare in the industry build-own-operate (BOO) scheme acting as an investor and owner in projects of power unit construction. Such model was first used in the project with Turkey (Akkuyu atomic power plant). In 2013 a contract was signed for construction of a power plant Hanhikivi in Finland on the same principles. Rosatom is a co-owner of Fennovoima local company by acquiring 34 percent of its shares, and now as a co-investor it is developing a project valued at ~ 4-6 bln Euro designed for 10 years (until 2024). By the way, the ability of making a combined offer strengthens considerably positions of the company in the market of nuclear services. In her interview to the Herald of Atomic Industry journal director of Fennovoima Minna Forsström said: "We looked for a real partner who has experience, is motivated and acts as an owner and supplier. Rosatom meets all these requirements and also undertakes the major portion of financing of construction. We believe that if a company is ready for such partner relations, the mutual motivation of the participants will provide successful implementation of the project."

Kirienko stressed that the year 2013 was satisfactory for Rosatom, which managed to increase the backlog of foreign orders from US$66 bln early in the year to US$ 73 bln

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at the end in conditions of the changed attitude to atomic power after the Fukushima-1 accident in 2011. The company surpasses by far its competitors in this parameter. He noted that in the next 10 years the national enterprises would have a stable source for development and investments.

According to Kirienko the market of construction of atomic power plants is not as large-scale in Russia as compared with the world potential need. Nevertheless, under the program of the industry development in Russia until 2020 Rosatom is to put into operation at least 1 hW of generating capacities annually. The total capacity of atomic power plants shall make up ~28 hW by the designed time.

NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND ITS WASTES

The intensive development of atomic power engineering makes specialists put more emphasis on systems of industrial technologies of a closed nuclear fuel cycle. What is meant here are methods of treatment of uranium 235 spent in the reactor but its energy potential (content of active long-living radionuclides) remains still very high, which creates considerable risks for the population and environment safety. How to process and store such wastes? These problems were discussed by major players of the market of services of a nuclear fuel cycle such as representatives of Russia, France, Germany, Romania and Great Britain.

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It is worthy of note that the problem of using new technologies of radioactive wastes in long-term storage is urgent for all countries which are developing atomic power engineering. Many of them have already their own engineering solutions. For example, France constructed an underground research laboratory for feasibility studies of high- and medium-active radioactive waste disposal in the Champagne region in the north-east of the country. Strange as it may seem but just such picturesque environs played a key role in making decision to construct an underground storehouse in this place. The point is that local clay layers possess good sorption capacity and low water permeability. Director of the International Cooperation Department of the National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management ANDRA (France) Gerald Uzunyan said at the panel discussion: "We are ready to share our experience accumulated during work of our underground research laboratory with the Russian colleagues."

In his turn, deputy director of the State unitary enterprise "National Operator of Radioactive Waste Disposal" (Russia) Nikolai Lobanov told the participants about the progress of the national project for creation of a research laboratory for feasibility studies of creating a facility for a final isolation of conditioned radioactive wastes in the Nizhnekansk granitoid massif (Krasnoyarsk Territory)*. According to him the laboratory will be located at a depth of ~500 m in an area of about 1 km2. Its design will be in the form of a complex of mining workings including chambers for containers with wastes, horizontal and vertical shafts for ventilation and transportation of cargoes and equipment and also other elements of auxiliary purpose. After the containers are installed, voids in the chambers will be filled with hardening laying based on a cement-concrete mixture. Vertical workings of 6 m diameter and 508 m deep will be equipped with facilities for descent and lifting of people and cargoes during prospecting works, construction and operation of the laboratory. He noted that at present the specialists were preparing the project documents. This work including expert procedures will be completed at the end of 2015. It is planned to put a start-up complex into operation by 2021.

According to Lobanov, the problem of placing of a ground for radioactive waste disposal caused a morbid reaction in the public at large. He said: "The fears are hypertrophic and an element of radiophobia exists. But at the same time it cannot be denied that the population and public organizations may have reasonable questions and be worried. We are trying to reassure them by public hearings and openness of our projects." He also added: "Despite the fact that the problem of radioactive waste disposal is primarily ecological we have to state that our projects are most difficult for placement among all other industry projects."

KEEP PACE WITH EUROPEAN TRENDS

The international specialized exhibition as a show of achievements of the world nuclear industry is becoming a visiting card of Atomexpo. As in the previous years, the exhibited products were presented by leading foreign enterprises including suppliers of equipment, component parts and services for the industry, building companies, IT- and consulting companies. Among them there are the Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternative Sources of Energy of France (CEA), the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Alstom (France), Rolls-Royce (Great Britain), Alfa Laval (Sweden), etc. But, of course, the tone was set by major Russian producers such as Rosatom and its basic branch enterprises.

*See: "Uranium, Thorium and the Future of Power Engineering", Science in Russia, No. 1. 2014.-Ed.

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A lot of participants used modern interactive technologies and a creative design in presenting their material, therefore such expositions could not be passed by. In this respect, Atomexpo keeps pace with the modern European trends.

There is an unexpected "exhibit" on Rosatom stand, i.e. a yellow cake, a concentrate of natural uranium (U3O8) or a primary component of a nuclear fuel cycle. This compound may be not so "attractive" by itself. But the stand-assistant offered... to pour it in hands using special gloves.

Atomenergomash (Rosatom mechanical engineering division) presented its means of producing equipment for atomic power engineering in the form of diorama.

The diorama demonstrated the whole cycle of a technological process from design works of key units for atomic power plants (industrial reactors, steam generators, power boilers) to shipment of finished products from the factory. Besides, the technical experts, including designers, described specific features of the offered products and services. The visitors had an opportunity to make photos at the background of the exclusive mockups of the company equipment.

Rosenergoatom, an operator of the national atomic power plants, organized on-line translation from the construction site of the Leningradskaya atomic power plant-2, where the workers were engaged in erecting of a reactor top.

Atomenergoproekt company as a general designer of construction of atomic power plants installed a videowall-a wide screen made of separate plasma panels connected by a seamless method, where it presented its main project WER-TOI (standard optimized informatization power block based on water-moderated reactor*) in a tridimensional measurement. The exposition developers used the same method with active 3D-glasses synchronized with television display for demonstration of other engineering designs. The process of creation of an atomic power plant from a project to its real embodiment reproduced on stereo panels became three-dimensional and close. The countdown display informed about the time till the start of the first power block of the Novovoronezhskaya atomic power plant-2.

Head of Atomenergoproekt Communication Department Anna Kurbakova noted: "Interest in the exhibition on the part of Russian and foreign visitors was simply great. The specialists of our company hardly had time to

*See: "Safety & Efficiency", Science in Russia, No. 6, 2012.-Ed.

answer questions of representatives of Turkey, Bulgaria, China, India, Bangladesh, Iran, Czechia, Hungary and Jordan about advantages of Russian engineering developments and explain why our projects were among the most reliable and safe in the world."

IN THE CITY OF PEACEFUL ATOM

The forum was held in the days of the 60th anniversary of the First in the world atomic power plant* put into operation on June 7, 1954, at the Leipunsky Physics and Power Engineering Institute in the village of Obninskoye, Kaluga Region. It is just this historical place to which a large delegation of Atomexpo participants made a technical tour. They visited the Laboratory "V", where academicians Igor Kurchatov, Anatoly Alexandrov and Nikolai Dollezhal laid the foundation for nuclear power engineering of our country. They saw with their own eyes the very AM uranium-graphite channel-type water-cooled reactor of 5 MW capacity, which opened to humanity the door to peaceful uses of the most powerful source of energy and changed its point of view of the atomic problem. Only 12 years ago the reactor was decommissioned after 48 years of successful operation.

See: M. Khalizeva, "Mission of the First Atomic Electric Power Station", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2014.-Ed.


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Marina KHALIZEVA, IN THE INTERESTS OF ENERGY STABILITY // Kiev: Library of Ukraine (ELIBRARY.COM.UA). Updated: 24.11.2021. URL: https://elibrary.com.ua/m/articles/view/IN-THE-INTERESTS-OF-ENERGY-STABILITY (date of access: 30.11.2021).

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