Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Expert: Bids for Temelín differ mainly in protective containment

7 December 2012

Prague, Dec 6 (CTK) - The reactors that US-Japanese company Westinghouse and Czech-Russian consortium MIR.2000 are offering for the planned extension of the Czech nuclear power plant of Temelin are both very similar from the physical point of view, Temelin former head Frantisek Hezoucky told CTK Thursday.

The biggest difference between the two projects consists in the construction of the containment that protects the reactor.

While the Russian offer is based on a solution used for small reactors, the US proposal represents a revolutionary technology that has not been time-tested anywhere yet, Hezoucky said.

The AP1000 reactor from Westinghouse has a steel containment, so its external surface may be used to dissipate heat in case of an accident. The building that surrounds the containment is just a casing serving as a protection against external events such as an aircraft impact, Hezoucky said.

The reactor from Westinghouse is protected by passive safety elements that are on even if there is a power failure in the plant.

The containment is cooled down with the use of stack effect. If air alone is not sufficient to cool down the reactor, the containment is sprinkled by water from a large-capacity tank placed in the upper part of the building.

The Czech-Russian consortium, comprising Czech company Skoda JS and Russian companies Atomstroyexport and Gidropress, is offering reactors MIR that use prestressed concrete with internal steel lining. The building around the containment protects the reactor from natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

On the external surface of the building there are exchangers with water that can dissipate heat from the reactor in case of an accident. Thanks to gravitation it can be used even in case of a power failure.

"AP1000 is a revolutionary project with a number of interesting solutions that have not been used anywhere yet. The first reactors of this type will be those that are being built in Sanmen in China at present," Hezoucky said.

"MIR.1200, on the other hand, is an evolutionary project leaning on time-tested solutions from two minor reactors operated in Tianwan in China," Hezoucky said.

"Russian designers and supervisory bodies, who have learned a lesson from the Chernobyl accident, insist on multiple safety elements even at the cost of higher investment costs," Hezkoucky said.

Another bidder in the Temelin tender was French company Areva. Czech power utility CEZ, the operator of Temelin, however, excluded Areva from the tender in October.

Areva has filed an appeal with the Czech antitrust office (UOHS), which subsequently banned CEZ from signing a contract with a potential winner of the tender until the office decides about Areva's appeal.

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