The Federal Service for Ecological, Technological and Nuclear Supervision (Rostekhnadzor) has issued a licens for an extended (outside of the designed one) lifespan for the operation of the Smolensk NPP 3rd power block for another 15 years. That said, the power block will be in service for 45 years instead of the original 30 years.
When preparing for an extended lifespan, the Smolensk NPP has undergone a set of research, development, and engineering activities. Pavel Lubenskiy, the director of the Smolensk NPP: ‘The 3rd power block management systems were completely upgraded and refurbished from the technology prospective. We have conducted a global modernization with thousands of technically complex operations to replace the equipment that has exhausted its performance potential and to implement special new-generation special safety systems, among other things. We have laid over 2,000 km of wires, installed over 2,000 equipment sets. All planned works were completed timely and with due quality’.
The extension of the operating NPP power blocks’ lifespan is an effective best practice used worldwide. Keeping the existing park of reactor facilities is crucial for having enough time to prepare for the construction of the replacement capacities.
Since 2001, the lifespan of 27 Russian power blocks has been extanded. Three of them have already exhausted their prolonged lifespan and are now being prepared for decommissioning. Three other power blocks are scheduled to obtain the licenses from Rostekhnadzor until the end of 2019 – the 2nd power block of the Kola NPP, the 4th power block of the Novovoronezh NPP, and the 2nd power block of the Bilibino NPP.
As of now, the average contribution the Smolensk NPP makes into the country’s power system is 20 billion kilowatt hours annually, which accounts for around 11% of all power produced by the Rosenergoatom Joint-Stock Company and over 80% of the power produced by the energy companies of the Smolensk region.
During the extra 15 years of service, the 3rd power block of the Smolensk NPP will be able to deliver over 90 billion of kilowatt hours. This amount of energy is enough to keep 300 million light bulbs with 50 watt each or over 11 million electric kettles running for a year.
While in service, the Smolensk NPP RMBK reactors can produce both electric and heat power as well as Cobalt-60 (Co-60) isotopes. As of now, all three Smolensk NPP power blocks take part in the production of this valuable radioisotope that is widely used in health care, manufacturing and agriculture both in Russia and all over the world. Facilities running on Co-60 isotopes are used for X-ray therapy, sterilizing medical instruments, pasteurizing groceries, which increases their shelftime, spurs the growth and the crop yield of cerels and vegetables, as well as purifies and neutralizes industrial effluents.