10 months ago

atw 2018-03v6


atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 3 ı March ENERGY POLICY, ECONOMY AND LAW 150 Renovation of the country’s icebreaker fleet will continue. Currently another icebreaker, Leader, is being developed. This ship would enable year-round navigation of ships with up to 100,000 t deadweight and up to 50-m-wide hull over the whole Northern Sea Route. This would be a huge ship over 200 m long and about 40 m wide. Its capacity – 120 MW – would be unprecedented for icebreakers (though such military ships and passenger liners do exist). Russia already has an engineering design ready for the Leader. Negotiations are currently underway to identify its manufacturer plant and construction schedule. Powerful icebreaker fleet became increasingly demanded following the start of the Yamal-LNG Project that “opened new horizons for our national economy”, according to President Putin. 2 Nuclear power plants for the Arctic As concerns nuclear energy for hardly-accessible areas, decades of RD&D have not yet yielded any significant advancement of nuclear sources in this seemingly obvious consumption sector. Initially, all works related to the development of both stationary and transportable SNPPs were concentrated in the USA and the USSR. At the very beginning of 1950ies, the United States have for the first time started to pay serious attention to SNPPs, exclusively because of their army’s interest. Such SNPPs (with capacities ranging from 0.3 to 3 MW) intended as energy sources for remote military bases have been deployed in Alaska, Greenland and even the Antarctic, but in the sixties all of them have been shut down. In 1968, the United States have installed a floating NPP – MH-1A Sturgis (10 MW) – in a lake near the Panama Canal. It has operated for 8 years (Figure 2) operation since 1974, but the concept of building small stationary NPPs similarly to large ones was abandoned. Rosenergoatom Concern (the Russian nuclear generating company) considers this NPP, with its low efficiency and too many workers required per power capita, rather as an encumbrance than as a prototype for the future. The global situation with SNPPs is quite similar. The IAEA small- & medium-sized reactor (SMR) database [2] (IAEA: International Atomic Energy Agency) contains information on dozens of designs – but virtually all of them are still paper designs at various stages of development. There are still no market signals to confirm enthusiastic forecasts of some experts and companies (such as, e.g., the U.S. NuScale Power) who predict good commercial future for SMRs. Only the 25-MWe CAREM (that demonstrates obvious features of a prototype ship reactor) and pilot high-temperature reactors are currently under construction in Argentina (since 2014) and China (since 2012 – two-module Shidao-Bay-1), respectively. | | Fig. 3. Finally the FNPP construction is nearing completion. | | Fig. 2. Mobile and transportable NPPs. As for the Soviet Union, it has launched its strategic R&D on small reactors in the middle of 1950ies. In October 1956, a governmental decision on SNPP deployment has been adopted. Figure 2 presents some interesting designs (TES-3, PAMIR, ARBUS) that have achieved the implementation stage. However, all these facilities were demonstrationonly. The only exclusion is the Bilibino NPP with its four 12 MWe water-graphite reactor units. The plant is in In 1990ies, Russia has adopted a long-ranging decision of principle: to build a floating NPP (FNPP) to demonstrate the advantages the nuclear energy offers for remote isolated regions. This NPP was to be barge-based, factorybuilt and returned to the special site for every refueling and repairs [3]. KLT-40, a nuclear icebreaker reactor with proven high reliability and safety, was chosen for installation at this FNPP. After its start in 2007, the FNPP construction went on with great difficulties – it has survived not only the change of the manufacturer plant and multiple changes of the first operating site ( Severodvinsk, Vilyuchinsk, Pevek), but also what was maybe the worst – on-the-go redesign to allow for use of low-enriched fuel. In 2016, the FNPP – Akademik Lomonosov – achieved the stage of dock trials (Figure 3). Unfortunately, this redesign reduced the capacity and hence the refueling interval (to 2–3 years) of the FNPP, so that it had to be equipped with refueling equipment and spent fuel storage. This contradicts with the key conceptual requirement, which inhibits any onboard operations with fuel for future floating NPPs. So today the developers are facing the task to extend the refueling interval of future floating NPPs to 10–12 years. This task is becoming increasingly important with the latest incentives intended to solve the energy supply issue in the Russian Arctic – and pertinent to the strategic issue of supplies to hardly accessible areas and, prima facie, to the “Arctic vector” of the Russian energy industry [4]. Below follows the opinion of Mikhail Kovalvchuk, President of the Kurchatov Institute: “In recent years, the development of Arctic areas became a strategic priority for Energy Policy, Economy and Law Russian Nuclear Energy Technologies for the Development of the Arctic ı Andrej Yurjewitsch Gagarinskiy

atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 3 ı March Design Refueling interval, years Lifetime, years Development stage ABV-6 10–12 50 – Pilot reactor and NPP unit Volnolom – detailed design (1993) – FNPP for the Far North – feasibility study – Nuclear co-generation plant for Kazakstan – feasibility study – Pilot bench – in operation KLT-40S 2.5–3 40* – Equipment for two reactors – supplied to the FNPP Akademik Lomonosov RITM-200 4.5–5 40* – Two reactors for the pilot universal icebreaker – preparation for complete shipment (2016) – Reactors for the next two icebreakers – scheduled supply in 2018 and 2019, respectively VBER-300 1.5–2 60 – NPP with two VBER-300 units – quotation (2002) – VBER-300 reactor facility – conceptual design (2004) – VBER-300 units for Kazakhstan – detailed design (2007–2009) VBER-600 1.5–2 60 – 100 – 600 MW capacity range – concept (2007–2008) – NPP with VBER-460/600 – R&D (2008–2012) * – allows for extension to 60 years | | Tab. 2. SMR designs under development. our country. President of the Russian Federation has approved the “Fundamentals of the Russian State Policy in the Arctic to 2020 and beyond” (2008) and the “Strategy of the Russian Arctic Zone Development and National Security Assurance to 2020” (2013). The following aspects of the tasks to be solved should be emphasized: first, a state-of-the-art computerized energy infrastructure should be an integral part of the comprehensive socioeconomic development of the Arctic. Second, many large-scale oil/ gas and other projects are now underway in the Arctic. Third, long distances between – and unreliable energy supplies to – local communities are a specific feature of the Russian Arctic. Local conditions require a distributed energy supply system, which should account for both extreme operating conditions. On the whole, the Arctic energy supply system consists of onshore and offshore components. The latter are based on the practical experience of efficient application of Russian shipbuilding technologies…” Indeed, Russian nuclear designers are experienced in developing and operating ship reactors, both for the Navy and for the civil fleet. Table 2 [5] lists the designs produced by OKBM Afrikantov, the country’s leading developer of small and medium reactors (6 – 600 MW). Another well-known RD&D institute, NIKIET, has developed a family of SNPPs with capacities ranging from 1 to 20 MWe, including facilities such as Shelf and Uniterm of about 6 MWe each [6]. Developers of conventional stationary reactors also do not lose hope to join the competition for entering the future SNPP market. For example, VVER developers are already offering an integral facility (VVER-I) of 100, 200 and 300 MW. This design is based on the natural circulation of coolant, so it couples higher safety with compact equipment, thus allowing for modular arrangement of the NPP. Another SNPP development line is presented by smaller units of 0.5–1 MWe (5–10 MWt) that can be deployed on the basis of unmanned autonomous thermoelectric power plants. Practical feasibility of this class of energy sources is confirmed by the Kurchatov Institute’s experience in constructing power facilities based on the direct heat-to-electricity conversion. Romashka built in 1962 as a pilot facility intended for space applications was the first such facility in the world. In 1982, the Kurchatov Institute has built and launched Gamma – a prototype thermoelectric facility intended for ship applications [1] – which | | Fig. 4. Gamma – a prototype unmanned underwater power source (launched in 1982). has operated for many years and made it possible to perform an exhaustive scope of studies and tests (Figure 4). In the mid-80ies, proceeding from the Gamma’s successful operating experience, the design of Elena NPP was developed in the framework of conversion programs. This type of power facilities is based on the following three cornerstones: • water-water reactor with power self-regulation as a heat source; • heat removal by natural circulation of coolant in the primary and secondary circuit; • thermoelectric conversion of heat into electricity. As a result, such facilities – whose technical feasibility is now doubtless – offer considerable advantages compared to those based on turbine energy conversion. 3 Nuclear technologies for the development of the Arctic shelf As concerns the Arctic shelf development, the Energy Strategy of Russia to 2035 estimates the country’s continental shelf to contain 90 billion tons of oil equivalent (toe), including 16 billion tons of oil with condensate and 74 trillion m 3 of gas. About 70% of these resources find themselves on the Barents, Pechora and Kara Sea shelves, which together make about a half of the Russian Arctic shelf. Experts forecast that by 2035 Russia will annually produce up to 30 million tons of oil and 130 billion m 3 of gas on its Arctic shelf. The averaged total electricity demand by the hydrocarbon production industry is estimated above 3 GW, so ENERGY POLICY, ECONOMY AND LAW 151 Energy Policy, Economy and Law Russian Nuclear Energy Technologies for the Development of the Arctic ı Andrej Yurjewitsch Gagarinskiy