Kola NPP may run on gas

Igor Kudrik
1998-11-30 12:00

Kola NPP may run on gas

Kola Science Centre proposes to replace the two oldest reactors at Kola Nuclear Power Plant with a gas steam generator. Rosenergoatom, state operator of the nuclear plants in Russia, funded the feasibility study.

Photo: Kola Nuclear Power Plant
Kola Nuclear Power Plant runs on up to 25 years old VVER-440 reactors. Now, Kola scientists proposes to rebuild parts of the plant as a gas power plant.
Photo: Thomas Nilsen

The study, led by Professor Igor Stepanov, a scientist at the Kola Science Centre, has looked into the possibility to replace the two oldest VVER-440 reactors with a gas steam generator. The two reactors are to be taken out of operation by the year 2003 and 2004 respectively.

The idea is to dismantle the reactor installations and to rebuild two of the four turbines attached to the reactors as a gas steam generator. The remaining two turbines and the entire electric outfit around them will be used in accordance with their designed functions.

According to Professor Stepanov, the plant will be able to maintain the same power outcome, namely 880 MW, as its nuclear analogue.

The gas, according to the study, would come through the pipeline from Yamal Peninsula in Western Siberia. In the future, the Shtokmanskoe gas field in the Barents Sea might become an alternative.

The project is prompted by the lack of funding for completion of the Kola NPP-2. The site for this new power plant is located eight kilometres from the existing one. The KNPP-2 will consist of three VVER-640 reactors. According to Stepanov, the conversion of a part of Kola NPP to become gas-driven will cost $290 million. This is much cheaper than to build a brand new nuclear power plant. However, to build the pipeline some $1.5 billion would be required.

Kola Nuclear Power Plant operates on four VVER-440 reactors commissioned in 1973, 1974, 1981 and 1984 respectively. The two oldest reactors, now 24 and 23 years old, originally were to be shut down in 2003 and 2004. The engineers of Kola NPP are working on gaining a new lease on a longer service life for these reactors, some 5-7 years beyond 2004.

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