Tuesday, February 20, 2007

First Fuel Loading Under Way At Romania’s Cernavoda-2


19 Feb (NucNet): The first loading of fuel at unit two of Romania’s Cernavoda nuclear power plant is under way, national utility Nuclearelectrica has announced. The first nuclear fuel bundle was loaded into the reactor core at 01.29 local time on 15 February 2007, and the new unit formally become a nuclear facility certified and licensed by the country’s regulatory authorities including the National Commission for Nuclear Activities.

Nuclearelectrica praised the multinational project management team of Romanians, Canadians and Italians for completing all the work necessary for certification and licensing. The utility said a total of 4,560 nuclear fuel bundles will be loaded at Cernavoda-2, a 655-megawatt (MW) pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR), over about 10 days – amounting to about 100 tonnes of natural uranium. The fuel is manufactured by a subsidiary of Nuclearelectrica, the Pitesti nuclear fuel plant, which manufactures the fuel for Cernavoda-1, also a 655-MW PHWR, that entered commercial operation in 1996.

Nuclearelectrica said the next milestone for Cernavoda-2 will be the loading of the primary circuit with heavy water, which is scheduled to take place by the end of February.
The unit is expected to achieve first criticality in April 2007 and will enter commercial operation in September 2007 – when, together with Cernavoda-1, the units will provide a combined total of about 18 percent of Romania’s domestic electricity production.
Cernavoda-1 generated just over 5.6 terawatt hours of electricity in 2006, setting a new record for the unit’s 10 years of commercial operation.

Preparatory work leading to the completion of units 3 and 4 at Cernavoda is also under way. Nuclearelectrica told NucNet in May 2006 that it hoped actual construction work could resume at the start of 2008 with completion in 64 months.

Contact the editor on this report john.shepherd@worldnuclear.org

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