ROSATOM pilots annealing technology
06 December 2018
ROSATOM has completed the annealing of a large capacity reactor vessel on power unit 1 (VVER-1000) at Balakovo NPP for the first time in the world. This technology, designed by Russian scientists from National Research Center Kurchatov Institute, enables extending reactor service life by using heat treatment that recovers physical parameters of the metal in a reactor vessel.
The project opens up cost-effective life-extension opportunities for the fleet of aging 1GW installed capacity reactors across the globe.
Annealing could extend the service life of VVER-1000 by 15-30 years, thus helping to prevent up to 7.8 BT of global CO2 emissions in total, as well as boosting the safety and economic performance of nuclear power plants. It is estimated that, for the extended operational lifetime, the cost of power generation (so-called LCOE) could decrease to as much as USD 29 per MWt-hour, which is cheaper than the marginal cost of coal-fired power generation.
The VVER-1000 vessel is larger in diameter and has thicker steel inlayings in comparison with VVER-440 vessels. So, scientists from the Kurchatov Institute have developed a brand new technology for the annealing of a vessel of a large-capacity reactor. The metal in the reactor vessel was slowly heated to a temperature of +565 degrees Celsius, after which it began a stationary annealing, which lasted 100 hours. Then, the metal was slowly cooled.