How the VVER-1200 Gen 3+ Reactor Design Provides Safe Power Generation


Discussions about the safety levels of nuclear reactor development have prevailed since 2015, when serious steps were taken towards the construction of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant to generate power. The Egyptian government has signed an agreement with Russia to continue development of four VVER-1200 reactors by Rosatom, which will provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services, nuclear fuel supply, support for operation and maintenance, and spent nuclear fuel. processing. Construction of the first power plant, located in El Dabaa, on the coast of Matrouh governorate, will start as soon as the building permit is issued by the Egyptian nuclear regulatory authority – the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority (ENRRA ). In the meantime, the construction of the administrative buildings and the residential staff quarters as well as the preparatory works on the site of the nuclear power plant are in progress.

The VVER-1200 Gen 3+ reactors, similar to those to be built at the El Dabaa site, are 1200 MWe pressurized water reactors (PWRs). This design envisages a combination of unique active and passive safety systems, it is a tested technology: 4 power units of two nuclear power plants in Russia based on this technology are already operational with the first power unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant which was connected to the grid in November 2020 Safe and reliable operation of the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant with minimal environmental impact under all conditions is ensured by improved safety systems, increased use of safety systems passive, as well as a double containment structure to prevent releases of radioactivity into the environment.

The VVER reactors developed by Rosatom are among the most widely used reactors in the world; they have proven their high reliability over more than 1,300 reactor years of operation. Since the commissioning of the first VVER power unit in the 1960s, the technology has provided safe and affordable electricity around the world: from the Armenian mountains to the countryside of the Czech Republic, above the Arctic Circle and to the southern tip of India. The design of the VVER-1200 takes into account the current IAEA safety standard and the so-called post-Fukushima safety requirements ensuring that all safety aspects are taken into account. Safety systems built into the reactor take into account other external factors and natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, floods, storm winds, hurricanes, snowfall, tornadoes, extreme high and low temperatures , as well as human-induced events such as airplane crashes, shock waves and flooding caused by ruptured water pipes, ultimately ensuring stable operation during crises.

Third generation VVER-1200 reactors not only prove to be safer in the event of an accident, but also more economical and energy efficient as they are smaller in size, designed to extend reactor life, decrease metal consumption.

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