AtomEnergoMash (AEM) manufactured and shipped a reactor vessel for Unit 2 of the Belarusian nuclear station.
A nuclear island is a complex hi-tech product, and its production requires unique competencies possessed by just a few countries in the world. AtomEnergoMash (AEM) is the only Russian company manufacturing the full set of systems and components for the nuclear island, including reactors, steam generators, main circulation pumps, etc., and integrating the entire value chain – from design to delivery.
The nuclear island was designed by AEM’s subsidiary OKB Gidropress, which is responsible for the project design and supervision. Material testing tasks are performed by Rosatom’s Central Research Institute of Machine Building Technology, a national leader in material studies. All metalworking, welding and machining operations are also performed by AEM subsidiaries.
Production of a VVER-1200 reactor vessel takes 36 months from design to delivery. Quality and future operational safety are top priorities at every production stage, from steel procurement to shipment of the final product to the customer. The general quality assurance plan contains 315 control points, with 86 points controlled jointly with representatives of the customer and relevant regulatory bodies. All in all, QA operations account for almost a third of the entire production cycle.
Before shipping the reactor vessel to the customer, the manufacturer carried out all necessary tests, including hydraulic tests of the reactor vessel with an upper head. The final step was a fit-up test of the reactor internals and a vessel head. A reactor core support structure, reflection shield and protective tube unit were mounted in their permanent positions inside the reactor. Quality assurance procedures carried out jointly by AEM and customer representatives proved the dimensions, alignment of components and quality of the finished vessel to be in accordance with the design.
Weighing more than 330 tons, the VVER-1200 reactor vessel is 13 meters high and 4.5 meters in diameter. Its delivery to the Belarusian nuclear station is a complex logistic task. The vessel will be first transported on a specialized truck to the cargo port on the bank of Tsimlyansk Reservoir (Don River) in Volgodonsk. It will go then by river to Novovoronezh where the vessel will be loaded on a dedicated railcar to be carried to Ostrovets (Belarus).