Russia may produce certain nuke power plant components in India

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

State Corporation Rosatom is a global technological leader in the field of energetic solutions and a strategic partner for foreign countries and business communities in achieving objectives of expansion of peaceful use of nuclear energy. Safety is a principal value of Rosatom; and many nuclear enterprises work at provision thereof. But their work would be impossible without special equipment – detectors, instruments and systems to measure and control radiation parameters of nuclear technologies. One of the enterprises focusing on handling the problem of providing nuclear facilities with instruments is Special Research Institute for Instrument Manufacturing (SNIIP) – the institute which over more than 50 years has been developing and manufacturing instruments and systems to ensure nuclear and radiation safety within decades at all nuclear facilities, from fleet to nuclear power plants. Kirill Krivosheyev, Commercial Director of SNIIP, told us about the Institute’s strategy, new developments and participation in projects in South Asia.

Kirill Yurievich, please, tell us about key activities of the enterprise

– Our institute was founded 65 years ago at the initiative of a distinguished scholar in the field of nuclear physics, Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov . One of the goals of establishing the institute was provision of instruments for safe use of nuclear energy related to ionizing radiation control. When Soviet Union started carrying out nuclear project, scholars ran into the problem and, as a result, a decision was made to establish a special institute. Main task of SNIIP was to create a scientific and industrial base for nuclear instrumentation. Instruments measuring ionizing radiation are main instruments to conduct surveys in the field of nuclear physics and ensure safety of nuclear technologies. 

Therefore main activities of SNIIP include research studies in the field of ionizing radiation measurement, development of new instruments and systems using most recent achievements of solid state physics, microelectronics, computation technologies, and nanotechnologies which ensure safety of processes and personnel. Everything that was created in our country in the field was connected with our institute; each and all nuclear facilities are equipped with our instruments and systems. Every place where nuclear energy is used is equipped with SNIIP instruments; looking backwards – this is the first NPP in the world, the first nuclear submarine, even the second space satellite was equipped with our devices. Nowadays our equipment is operated at the International Space Station making it possible for scholars to implement new methods of studying impact of space radiation on human bodies including development of science-based programs of long-term stay of a human in space.

 – The history is impressive. What is in the center of the company development today?

 – Nowadays we are busy with development of our traditional expertise in the field of instruments and methods of measuring ionizing radiation as it is necessary to create new high-information measuring systems, primarily for the new project of NPP with VVER TOI. 

We have a complete hardware production cycle: research studies, development, production, metrology, testing facilities, and service activities – we do all the above mentioned from beginning to end. First, we implement the projects that are essential to us – re-equipment of production capacities, enlargement of a scientific-research base for the works. We have the opportunities owing to ten-fold revenue increase and 12-fold productivity increase over the past five years. Specifically, in production we rely on high-performance equipment with maximum automation at all process stages of instrument production. Therewith environmental and safety issues are of top priority to us.

We make major effects in developing the area related to creation of reactor monitoring and control systems which are a key tool in ensuring reactor radiation safety – we need new developments in this area, and we implement them. We take part in all special projects carried out by Rosatom.

Does your Company have any current contracts for supplying equipment to Kudankulam NPP and Rooppur NPP in India and Bangladesh, respectively? What is the equipment?

– Yes, we have current contracts for supplying equipment for the second construction phase of NPP Kudankulam. The scope of supply will include the following I&C subsystems: control and protection system equipment (CPSE), reactor control and protection system electrical equipment (CPS EE), and computerized automation system of engineered safety features actuation system (CAS of ESFAS). These are APCS I&C subsystems and they are essential for safe functioning of a plant. Please note that the complete package of APCS I&C for Rosatom is supplied by RASU (note – RASU is Rusatom Automated

Control Systems) which is a partner of ours. This is a large number of contracts; equipment thereunder will be supplied in 2019 and 2021. Additionally SNIIP will supply equipment for in-core instrumentation system and integrated analysis system (ICIS and IAS) and operative diagnostic system as part of reactor monitoring, control and diagnostic system (MCDS). A similar system is operated at the first phase; we have service contracts and perform guarantee and post-guarantee maintenance under them.

Please, tell us about operation of the equipment and its function for NPP safety.

– Systems comprising MCDS monitor physical processes in the reactor and integrity of equipment and pipelines in a reactor plant. Moreover, they monitor residual life of the reactor plant equipment.

Systems comprising MCDS, installed at the first phase, operate in normal mode without comments from the customer. During planned preventive maintenance we perform service maintenance of the systems ensuring faultless operation prior to re-equipment.

Are there any contracts currently discussed related to NPPs in India and Bangladesh? What equipment is involved?

– We are preparing to participate in a tender to supply an automated radiation monitoring system (ARMS) for the second phase of Kudankulam NPP. The tender is put out by India; we are preparing our package of tender documents. As for Rooppur NPP in Bangladesh, this year we hope to sign contracts for ARMS supply in full. This is a key product for us, and we are committed to receive the references. ARMS equipment scope will not be less than the one for the second phase of Kudankulam NPP. We sent an appropriate proposal to RASU at a pre-contract stage.

Russia and India are discussing location of equipment for NPPs. Does SNIIP have any systems that can be manufactured in India?

– We understand the importance of arranging location of our equipment in India. Therefore we have held a number of meetings with representatives of NPCIL and the plant itself related to the issue. Currently we consider a possibility of locating production of radiation monitoring equipment, and we have submitted our proposals. To that effect, we are developing co-operation process and call Asian design institutes for collaboration. We have also confirmed to our Indian colleagues that partial production of equipment is possible at Indian enterprises to implement next common projects. We think that location extent can be increased from project to project. Part of radiation monitoring equipment for the second phase of Kudankulam NPP is most likely to be produced in India.

May it safely be said that modern NPP systems are automated to the extent to ensure its complete safety?

– As you are well aware, not long ago the first power unit was started at Leningrad NPP-2. It is a new unique Russian project – 3+ generation VVER-1200 reactor. Safety standards for reactor of the type have been developed with a consideration to “post-Fukusima requirements”. Standards, rules and codes related to the equipment operation have been revised and stiffened. Therefore we can safely say that Russia offers the safest product in terms of operation and safety to the foreign market.

As for radiation monitoring at nuclear facilities, the systems have also been modified in terms of safety ensuring. We have been present at the market since 1952; indeed, framework and extent of facility automation have been changed. Nowadays information from our instruments is transmitted on-line in automated mode. Operators monitor situation at automated workplaces on-line. Moreover we offer a service to observe and assess parameters from radiation monitoring system with the use of any portable device be it a pad, laptop, cell phone, or any other communication means. I am talking about our new product – environmental monitoring system.

- Please, tell us more details about environmental monitoring system. What is its novelty, and what are its technical capabilities?

– Environmental monitoring system is a broad term. First it is environmental safety of population. Environment covers a wide range of parameters which make it possible to assess safety of the situation, operation facilities, safety of one or another action. Our environmental monitoring system is scalable and includes a set of monitored parameters for various directions. And its “heart” is conventional radiation monitoring systems. We make judgment on radiation safety of one or another medium and its safety for a human. In any bank one always can see a cashier at a cash desk to have a dosimeter to measure radiation level. Any critical facility – a building, a mass populated place – is always equipped with a radiation monitoring device. Our system is scalable, that is we can monitor parameters both in a room and in a whole plant of several square hectares. Taking into account a current situation, Internet, communication lines, there is no distance for our system; we can supply monitoring points all over the world, provide a manager with a pad, and he or she will observe situation in any of the points.

If sticking to the subject, the environmental monitoring system makes it possible to monitor the following:

1) radiation parameters; 2) chemical composition of air and water media including natural water bodies; 3) radiation and chemical soil composition, 4) fallouts, wind direction, etc., 5) overall condition of environment around a facility, 6) environmental situation at the facility.

I would like to emphasize a decision making system comprised by environmental monitoring system. A user automatically receives a set of instructions and documents from the system which are immediately printed; the only thing left is to sign them with a handwritten signature, e.g. about people evacuation. Moreover our system includes software applications for error detection, single equipment fault detection and neutralization, detection of shift from normal situation to a pre-emergency or emergency one.

Technologically the system is divided into a lower, middle and upper levels. Lower level: sensors,which are grouped into chemical monitoring sensors, including ambient air, soil, and water bodies analyzers. Depending on certain requirements and operation conditions, we equip the systems with “smart” sensors or with sensors that form an electric signal whose parameters are further transformed into a digital code. The transformation is made by the middle level of the system. As a rule, we use smart sensors with microcontrollers installed to obtain a digital code as an output. Further the digital code goes to an upper level device; as a rule it is a work place, usual office computer.

Our development can become popular as an efficient engineering tool to prevent terrorist threat. To prevent a terrorist from taking a vial with a dangerous chemically active substance to mass populated places and using it, we equip entrances with chemical monitoring sensors. We can also install similar sensors for chemical, radiation and other types of monitoring on overhead roads and bridges to ensure remote situation control. It is possible to integrate a system of sensors to monitor soil, water, air, and fallout content at hazardous production facilities. We determine monitoring points at enterprise maps and install equipment. The system occupies little place, is secured and safe.

Does SNIIP have any solutions for other power fields except a nuclear one? With what equipment are you planning to enter the market of South Asia, if any?

– We have proposals for separate products that may be interesting in oil and gas area and for thermal power. Meanwhile we present the products at the Russian market under import substitution programs. We have already received a positive feedback from large oil enterprises in Russia. We are working at individual technical solutions for their tasks; and I think that after their successful implementation in the Russian Federation we will be able to offer them abroad, including South Asia.