9 Inside Russia’s Most Powerful Nuclear Power Plant

Inside Russia’s Most Powerful Nuclear Power Plant

Posted on September 29, 2015 by tim

Balakovo Russian Nuclear Power Plant is the most powerful and largest Russian nuclear plant. Over 30 Billion kW/h of electricity being produced here each year which is 1/5 of total Russian electric power output! However in the world it’s only the 51st largest. Anyway the place is magnificent and thanks to awesome Russian blogger Slava has visited it and made awesome photos:

This power plant is on the river Volga , near Saratov city.

There are four huge reactors in the plant.

If you fly by helicopter over the plant you can see its scale.

This is a reactor wall. It’s 1.5 meter thick (over 5 feet) and is made of concrete. It’s hermetically sealed and is designed to contain any explosion which might occur.

You can only reach the reactor by going over this bridge. You must  change clothes and get personal radiation meter. Just in case.

This door enters the reactor block. It first locks from one side and you enter a gateway to be cleared to enter into the second thick door.

This is main reactor hall. As you can see, it is in a  cylindrical  room. It’s so because of its protective purposes. It is in a huge cylindrical room and hanging over 30 meters above ground level.   a large and very thick concrete and steel capsule is placed inside of each reactor.

And here Slava steps down into the reactor itself:

Those pipes bring water to reactor. The incoming water temperature is +289 C, out coming is +320 C. 84,000 tons of water circulate thru reactor each hour! It goes straight to steam generators and drives them to generate electricity.

Here is a steam generator. It generates steam to drive the electric generators.

Another steam generator.

This is a view of the pumps that circulate the water.

This pool of water is used to change nuclear fuels in the reactor. It’s always being done remotely without a personal contact with any parts of fuel or fuel rods. The operations of fuel change happen under three meters of water. Then the fuel is stored for over three years under water. As long as it stays there its radioactivity reduces with time and it stops self-heating. After three years, when its temperature doesn’t rise above sixty degrees it is removed from under the water and sent to nuclear storage facilities.

Here scientists control the unloading of fuel remotely. Usually one load of the fuel can work for over 400 days. But scientists want to increase this to 18 months.

Over 3700 people work on site, with over 60% having college education or higher.

This is a huge robotic wrench or screwdriver. It installs screws and bolts around the reactor instead of humans in order to minimize human exposure to the radioactive materials.

In order to prevent accidents all pipes have to be regularly inspected for residues on their walls. For this they use robotized cameras.

This is the roof of that round ball reactor enclosure. It has many fire alarms and systems.

Before leaving the reactor halls everyone must pass tests to determine how polluted their uniforms are.

These people control the station in general and stay out of reactors and their enclosures.

Lots of lights to pay attention to. They are all divided into zones and different people are responsible for eacj.

This is a lead engineer who controls turbines.

To control one reactor one has to watch for over 19,000 different parameters.

Here the steam generated in four different reactors join and funneled into one huge turbine.

Here is the turbine of the main power generator. It rotates as fast as 1,500 rpm, like your car at just over idle speed.   But this thing is hundreds or thousands times bigger than a cars engine.

And this is a secondary generator turbine. It “intercepts” the leftovers of steam unused and excess in first turbine. Pretty smart!

The voltage here is very high, over 24,000 volts! Compare to your 110/220 v wall outlet and you can imagine that power!

Engineers watch turbines all the times.

And thru these wires generated electricity leaves the power plant and goes to consumers.

Many Russian regions being fed power thru these lines.

And this lake serves as the natural coolant for the nuclear plant.

Lots of fishes live in it.

Thru multitudes of pumps the power plant receives its water from the lake for cooling purposes.

Thru these sprinklers water gets cooler through aeration.

Special staff controls quality and contamination levels of water.

Lots of tests including plasma tests are being conducted on the cooling water.

Engineers are considering building two more reactors here, with same style enclosures around them.

Hope you liked the story and thanks a lot to Slava for being such a good photographer and reporter! His website is below:


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9 Responses to “Inside Russia’s Most Powerful Nuclear Power Plant”

  1. A constant reader says:

    This multi page stuff is useless, I just go to the last page and then to the original source of the photos.

    • pets says:

      Thank You, so did i.
      Further more, original source says that walls are 1.2 meters thick, not 1.5
      Also, statement that:”…and is designed to contain any explosion which might occur.” cannot be more wrong.
      Tests that have been made to nuclear reactor containment buildings have been shown that, even your regular party balloon can stand more pressure.
      That is because of pressure per square area. Since buildings have enormous wall area, they cannot stand much pressure.
      But for general public, this statement gives a sense of security, so enough of that.
      Ignorance is bliss.

  2. Alex says:

    This statement in the article is wrong: “Over 30 Billion kW/h of electricity being produced here each year which is 1/5 of total Russian electric
    power output!”

    Actually it is 1/5 of all NPP generating capacity in Russia. And energy produced annually is 1000 times less then declared – 30 Milliards kW/h.

  3. Frank says:

    Most interesting pictures. Thank you.

  4. john says:

    Excellent posting.Great photo’s to.

  5. Frank says:

    @ Alex
    In America and I think in English in general, they do not use the “milliard” for them a 1000 million is a “billion”.
    But I also thought that the plant does not produce 1/5 of Russian electricity.
    The caption on pic 15: “Here all the steam generated in four different reactors join and funneled into one huge turbine” is also wrong (I think) I think it is meant to say “the steam from all 4 steam generators….”. I am absolutely certain that each reactor has its own turbine plant.

  6. Frank says:

    @ rostit
    a 1000 million. There are no billionaires in Europe, but there are a couple of milliardaires

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