Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

We are at the Novosibirsk Plant of Chemical Concentrates where fuel assemblies for nuclear power plants are made.

Nuclear reactor is something like a huge kettle that boils water. The water is heated under the impact of the chain nuclear reation that happens in the fuel assembly. Such assemblies are produced just here, in Novosibirsk.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Alexander once came to the plant as an ordinary worker but now he is the chief of the shop.

Each time a new assembly is developed, they try to make it better: more rigid, reliable and safe. Old technologies are sold to other countries.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

It is the very beginning of the technological chain.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

One can walk only within these lines.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Enriched uranium is delivered from Seversk to Novosibirsk.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Now it has to be processed in the way to make fuel pellets from it. It is heated, various ingredients are added etc.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

All equipment for this stage of production is developed and produced on the territory of Russia.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Then the fuel of right consistency is packed into such cones.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Now the cones are put into the centrifuges to be rotated.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

It’s scary to think what is inside of these pots.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Now the fuel is put into the press for pellets forming.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

These little cylinders are nuclear pellets.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Then the pellets go to the furnace for burning via this transporter. When they didn’t have the transporter they had to carry the pellets from one stage to another with their own hands.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

This is the furnace. The pellets are burnt and then cooled.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Ready pellets have a different color and smaller weight and size.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Each pellet is to be examined: they shouldn’t have cracks or deformations.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

The pellets are packed into containers which are marked and sent to the department where nuclear rods are equipped. The white cylinders on the containers are chips with all information about the content of the container (number of pellets, weight, date of production etc.).

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

The rod is a zirconium cylinder (very durable and very easy), it is sealed from one end first.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Then the automatic machine equips it with the necessary number of nuclear pellets.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Then a spring is fixed inside, it will hold the pellets. They pump the air out and inject helium gas inside. Then it is sealed from another side.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

The process is fully automated. Even the slightest scratch can break the strength of the rod.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Then every rod is thorougly inspected according to numerous parameters.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

All information is stored in the computer. Each rod gets a laser marking, so it’s easy to track them all.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Such a “hedgehog” checks the quality of the welding at the ends of the rods avoiding any mechanical impact on the rods itself.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Now all the rods are to be packed.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

For one hour this line can equip up to 60 rods.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

The amount of defective products is 0,4%.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

It is a metalworking shop.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Workers need to rest sometimes too.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Now the rods have come to the final stage of the fuel assembly production. This machine will examine all the rods once again.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Russian fuel assemblies are more reliable than their foreign analogues.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

The frames of the fuel assemblies are rather beautiful.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Robot MOTOMANN is used for automatic welding.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

The robot is in the test mode, so people do welding manually.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Now the machine will fill the fuel assemblies with the fuel rods.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

It only remains to secure the tips and the assembly is ready.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

This is a full size model of the fuel assembly standing in the shop.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Bar codes are on each rod. Tips are made by casting in a seamless way, it increases its durability.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

For the final test the fuel assemblies are put vertically, tested and packed.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

The packed fuel assemblies can be sent to the nuclear power plant.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Some part of work is made by women only.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Someone offered to put instruments into cases of old kits.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Epson machine automatically welds the equipment.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

Modern equipment is the lightest.

Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants

They have some photos of visitors. This is the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The plant produces unique fuel assemblies meeting all world standards. New constructions are constantly developed, the products become more and more durable. The latest domestic scientific developments are introduced.

All assemblies are intended to serve for four or five years. There is a belief that someone who produces the assembly that can serve for seven years will capture the world market. The ones produced in Novosibirsk serve for seven years with no complaints.

via vladimir-pak

21 thoughts on “Making Fuel Assemblies For Nuclear Power Plants”

    • Which three countries? Just in the former Soviet Union alone there must be more then 3 countries that are polluted from radioactivity. Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus are just the obvious ones that come to mind due to Chernobyl. But there are Soviet era polluted nuclear sites all over the FSU, probably elsewhere too.

  1. How can the nuclear fuel assemblies be assembled without cooling? Spent fuel assemblies are stored under water for 5 years because they produce a lot of heat.

    I would also have expected the fuel assemblies to have control rods inserted from production to absorb the neutrons being emmitted by the uranium.

  2. Why is it we always see the Russian pounding sensitive assemblies with the cross pein hammer??
    It is just as out dated as the sickle.

      • So will millions of others who have never spent a moment around radioactive elements…

        How many of them will die of cancer because of their exposure to radioactivity vs. just die of cancer like millions of others? The answer might not be as obvious and you think it would be. The guy smoking probably has a higher chance of developing it. Godspeed to the ones who smoke, eat charbroiled red meat and work at the plant! lol

    • There are quite a few companies and organizations that already are. Good luck convincing the greenies in government and tree hugging lobbying groups that it’s a good idea though. It’s nuclear, that’s bad! They will demonize it in favor of gov backing for geothermal / solar /wind / wave energy. No matter how environmentally sound, economical, and viable the tech is made to be. It’s nuclear. It must be evil, right?

  3. Iranian ambassador to factory workers: “Do you guys have any extra fuel rods lying around? Could I borrow some? I’m, uh … I’m doing a science project. Yeah.”

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