ArmInfo. In 2017 the works on implementation of the NPP 2nd energy unit lifetime extension project will be continued. According to Artem Petrosyan the Head of Nuclear Energy Department of Armenia Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources, it is planned for this year to implement design works on general equipment, systems and buildings replacement, on justification for remaining equipment recording, on radioactive safety level improvement. As the result, the second unit general equipment modernization project will be developed, and justification prepared regarding operation of equipment which is not subject to replace.
Accoprding to Artyom Poghosyan, the first stage of works on unit lifetime extension , which was planned for the year of 2016, is completed successfully. More that 4500 equipment items were investigated, new equipment and spare parts for those was purchased, in the result of which the option of lifetime extension was approved.
According to the information of the Ministry of Infrastructures and natural Resources of Armenia, the works implemented within the project, showed the absence of any defects that could become an obstacle for 10 year lifetime extension. Earlier in his interview to ArmInfo, Gera Sevikyan, the NPP Deputy Director General, told that a huge volume of works never done before has been completed within the period of regular/preventive maintenance at Armenian Nuclear Plant. According to him, a detailed complex study has been conducted in respect to the reactor and to all he heat production related facilities. The process was supervised by four large companies - two from Russia and two from Croatia. Starting from December 13, Armenian Nuclear Plant resumed the power supplies after regular renovation. It was disconnected from ther network on September 20 for the maintenance and refilling. Works are implemented by Rusatom Service, which is subsidiary of Rosatom State Concern. Folllowing Sevikyan, the main thing is that no derivations were found out at the unit that could turn an obstacle for its further operation. The thorium reactor is in pristine condition, and there is nothing discovered that could inspire any doubt for its proper work in the future. As Sevikyan accentuated, the steam generator condition is much better than expected. "We were going to block about 400 pipes of the generator, but based on results of the study, decided to block only 200, and the difference is essential. One should mention that if during 30 years about 4,5% of the pipes was blocked, now we got limited with only 0,5%. This shows that Armenian NPP has a resource enough to produce power during next 30 years," he noted.
The expert informed also, that works on studies of different segments of the block are still in progress. The main task will be to develop a justification for NPP further operation. This work will be continued in 2017. About 70% of the systems were checked this year, and the remainin 30% will be checked within a short regular maintenance planned to implement in 2017. The block will be stopped at that time for the period of 40-45 days. After that the authorized entities will have to adjust and justify the results, and the appropriate term of the equipment mentioned will be estimated. " In essence, it is possible not to replace it, but we must have known all the weal points to develop the schedule of necessary replacements,: the NPP Deputy Director said.
He informed also that in 2018 the main front of works will be related to the reactor cooler systems, which will give an option to improve the safety of the block closer to international standards. Besides, there is a huge volume of works in respect to power generation equipment modernization - separators, exit transformers, turbines etc. Currently the block is being operated under 92% of its capacity, which forms about 380 mWt. After the modernization the capacity will increase up to 470-480 mWt, which will become an essential addition , rendering an option to start paying the USD 270 mln loan disposed by Russia. Talking about the probability of extension of the NPP resource after the year of 2026, Sevikyan mentioned that a pretty large resource has been considered while developing the project of Armenian NPP, assuming the capital check of the station after 30 years of operation. "There are no nuclear plants in the world, which resource have not been extended. Even in US tere is an extension practice - for 60, 80 years and even for more. The construction of new plant is 10-15 times more expensive than extension of the resource. Hence, we think that the resource of Armenian NPP will be extended also after 2026,"the expert accentuated. To remind, in March 2014 Armenian Government took a decision on extension of ANPPP 2nd unit lifetime due to the new nuclear block construction being postponed. Rosatom and domestic specialists and experts agreed to work on the Project on Operation Lifetime Extension for 10 years - until 2026. The works are planned to be completed in 2019. Within this purpose, a USD 270 mln loan and USD 30 mln grant were allocated to Armenia by Russia.