New radioactive waste handling program at Russian NPPs
For many years, VNIIAES has been developing and analyzing the results of the spent nuclear fuel program implementation at nuclear power plants, and has been actively involved in the development and implementation of technologies and equipment for transferring spent nuclear fuel to compacted storage and its transportation to reprocessing.
In November 2015, the Government of the Russian Federation approved a new federal target program for nuclear and radiation safety (FTP NRS-2). Among the promising areas of work is the preparation for renewable energy of power blocks at the Bilibino NPP, which requires the establishment of infrastructure to ensure the removal of spent nuclear fuel and its reprocessing at FSUE Mayak PO. The Company adopted a transport and technological scheme for the removal of spent nuclear fuel from superheated graphite power reactors using air transport.
The task of VNIIAES at this stage is to provide scientific and methodological support to the Company in the development and implementation of a new program for spent nuclear fuel management at nuclear power plants in accordance with the concept of the federal target program NRS-2, and the development of proposals for the creation of an infrastructure to ensure the removal of spent nuclear fuel from the Bilibino NPP.
To ensure the export of new fuels with increased burnup depth and residual heat, VNIIAES plans to participate in the development of new regulatory documents governing the supply of SFAs to a nuclear fuel recovery plant.
Safe and efficient decommissioning of NPP blocks, creation of technologies and solutions for renewable energy for their replication and promotion to foreign markets is another important tasks for the Electric Power Division.
To date, decommissioning activities are carried out at two blocks of the first stage of the Novovoronezh NPP. Five NPP blocks belonging to the Rosenergoatom Joint-Stock Company have been stopped for decommissioning. Until 2030, it is planned to stop another 12 power blocks of Russian nuclear power plants for decommissioning. A few years ago, the concept “Liquidation of the NPP block after long-term monitoring” was in effect for decommissioning. But the costs of the operating organization for the preparation and decommissioning of the last five years have more than tripled. By 2030, it is planned to double the costs achieved to date.
That said, a new priority option for decommissioned blocks of the Company’s nuclear power plants was approved and justified with the participation of VNIIAES - “liquidation” using the “immediate dismantling” method.
In 2013, a Decommissioning Engineering Demonstration Engineering Center (DEDEC) was established at the Novovoronezh NPP. Currently, VNIIAES conducts a comprehensive engineering and radiation survey (CERS) of the Novovoronezh NPP’s 1st and 2nd power blocks in the interests of the DEDEC. Based on the results obtained, an optimal schedule will be developed and design decisions on decommissioning of the Novovoronezh NPP’s 1st and 2nd power blocks will be updated to maximize dose rates and financial costs. VNIIAES has been appointed as a scientific supervisor of work on the NPP decommissioning, providing their scientific and methodological support, development of documentation, CERS of stopped power blocks, development and implementation of effective technologies and solutions for dismantling, decontamination and radioactive waste management at NPPs. A number of key works have already been completed, including the preparation of documents, calculations and technical solutions.
Given the high costs of maintaining the shutdown nuclear power plant blocks and decommissioning activities, solving project management challenges and tackling their cost is a priority for the development of VNIIIAES in the field of preparation and decommissioning for the near future.