Nuclear industry news


Rosatoms Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is recognized 2014 Winner Project of Nuclear Energy by Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World magazines

 2014 Projects of the Year


By Sharryn Dotson, Associate Editor, Power Engineering, and Meg Cichon, Associate Editor, Renewable Energy World

Each year, power projects from around the world are recognized by the editors of Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World magazines. The winners of the 2014 Projects of the Year Awards were announced Dec. 8 at Disney's Odyssey Pavilion at EPCOT during POWER-GEN International.

This year's winners reflect the industry's search for cleaner, more efficient sources of power generation and demonstrate new technologies that will help achieve those goals. Project winners showcased an international representation of excellence in the power generation industry. Winners ranged from the largest concentrating solar power project in the world to the first large-scale power plant equipped with carbon capture and storage technology.

To be eligible for the 2014 award, a project must have been commissioned between August 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014. When judging the finalists, editors considered capacity, the technology, and the projects' impact on the industry and on the communities in which they were installed.

The editors of Power Engineering and Renewable Energy World magazines evaluated each entry and selected the winning projects.

Winner: Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant; operated by Rosenergoatom; 915 MW in Iran

nuclear winner: Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant
Nuclear winner: Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

Iran's first nuclear power plant began operations in September 2013. Rosatom unit Atomstroyexport built the VVER-1000 Unit 1 using structures and equipment already in place at Bushehr. The Iranian and Russian governments signed an agreement in August 1992 to build and operate a two-unit nuclear plant in Iran.

All work at the plant was done under International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) safeguards; and operations are also under IAEA safeguards. The main reactor components were built under a construction contract with Atomstroyexport based on the V-320 design, but designated at a V-446 to include adaptations to Siemens parts and for high seismic ratings.

The plant faced a series of delays and was almost abandoned in 2007. By the end of January 2008, Atomstroyexport had delivered the 163 fuel assemblies plus 17 reserve units for the initial core of Bushehr, totaling 82 tonnes of nuclear fuel. The reactor was due to start up in February 2011, and fuel had been loaded by the beginning of December. However, during the startup process, a 1970s-era pump failed and possibly shed metal particles into the primary cooling system. The fuel was removed, cleaned, and replaced, and the reactor successfully started up on May 8, 2011. It was grid-connected in September 2011 and was expected to enter commercial operation in April 2012, then May 2013. It finally reached commercial operation in September 2013.

After the unit was connected to the grid, Iranian legislation required a national company to operate the nuclear plant. In May 2012, the first deputy director generation of Rosenergoatom said that all operations related to the reactor equipment control and operations were being carried out by Russian specialists.

The anticipated 7 TWh/yr from the Bushehr reactor frees up about 11 million barrels of oil, or 1.8 million cubic metres of gas per year, which can be exported for hard currency. In 2013, Iran's Energy Minister said that it saved some $2 billion per year in oil and gas. Russia's Atomstroyexport was the project's contractor.

Runner up: The Kudankulam 1 nuclear power plant; operated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd.; 1,000 MW in Tamil Nadu, India

nuclear Runner up: Kudankulam 1 nuclear power plant
Nuclear Runner up: Kudankulam 1 nuclear power plant

Construction on the Kudankulam 1 nuclear power plant in India began in March 2002. Russia's Atomstroyexport supplied two VVER-1000 reactors under a Russian-financed 122.9 billion rubles ($3 billion) contract. A long-term credit facility covers about half the cost of the plant. The AES-92 units at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu state have been built by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) and also commissioned and operated by NPCIL under IAEA safeguards. The turbines are made by Leningrad Metal Works.

Russia will supply all the enriched fuel throughout the life of the plant, though India will reprocess it, keep the plutonium, and send the rest back to Russia.

The first unit was due to start supplying power in March 2008. In the latter part of 2011 and into 2012, completion and fuel loading was delayed by public protests, but in March 2012 the state government approved the plant's commissioning and said it would deal with any obstructions.

Fuel loading took place in September, and Unit 1 started up in mid-July 2013. The unit was connected to the grid in October 2013 and reached commercial operation in August 2014. Each unit will total 917 MWe net. Unit 2 is expected to reach operations in late 2014.

While the first core load of fuel was delivered early in 2008, there have been delays in supply of some equipment and documentation.

Control system documentation was delivered late, and when reviewed by NPCIL showed that the design basis flood level is 5.44 meters, and the turbine hall floor is 8.1 meters above mean sea level. The 2004 tsunami wall was under 3 meters.

A small desalination plant is associated with the Kudankulam plant to produce 426 m3 per hour using four-stage, multi-vacuum compression technology. Another reverse osmosis plant is in operation to supply local township needs. Project contractors included Atomstroyexport and Leningrad Metal Works.