On March 7, the loading of fuel assembly simulators started at Unit 2 of the Belarus NPP (the General Designer and Contractor is Rosatom's Engineering Division).
The procedure is a prerequisite and, in a way, a dress rehearsal for nuclear fuel loading into the reactor, which implies, among other things, the practice of the fuel assembly simulators transfer from a special fresh fuel storage to the reactor building, while also confirming the operational readiness of the fuel handling machine.
The simulators are exact copies of fuel assemblies in terms of their weight, size and materials, though they do not contain nuclear fuel. They are intended for commissioning
operations at the stage of the reactor cold and hot testing.
“The start of the fuel assembly simulators loading confirms the operational readiness of the reactor, transfer and process equipment and its accessories, reactor systems and main equipment for the stage of cold and hot tests to be conducted with the purpose of checking their compliance with design characteristics and safety requirements,” said Vitaly Polyanin, Vice President and BNPP Construction Director, ASE EC JSC. “After loading of all 163 fuel assembly simulators, the reactor assembly will be completed and with all appropriate permits in place, hydraulic tests will open a huge cycle of mandatory and strictly regulated complex processes required at the stage of the unit preparation for the physical start-up”.
The Belarus NPP with two VVER-1200 having a total capacity of 2,400 MW is being constructed in Ostrovets (the Republic of Belarus). The first nuclear power plant in Belarus is based on the Gen III+ Russian design which fully complies with international standards and safety recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Unit 1 of the Belarus NPP is the first operating unit of the latest generation III + based on Russian technologies abroad.