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26 May, 2013 14:07

Emergency shutdown at Russia's Kursk nuclear plant

Emergency shutdown at Russia's Kursk nuclear plant

The first turbine generator of Russia's Kursk Nuclear Power Plant, about 500 km south of Moscow, has been brought to a halt due to an emergency protection system alarm. The system reacted to a short-circuit in the stator, preliminary reports said.

With the turbine generator switched off, the first power-generating unit of the plant is running at half throttle.

Following the protection system malfunction, the radiation environment around the facility – which feeds the grid for central Kursk and 19 other regions – is reportedly normal.

“The unit is operating. One of the electric sensors went off, so did the protection system. The turbine generator has been currently working at 50 percent of its capacity. There have been no radioactive risks whatsoever safety-wise. Normal functioning of the automatic system,” Kursk NPP representative Aleksey Suzdalev told RIA Novosti.

Kursk NPP is one of Russia's three biggest nuclear power plants and four biggest electricity producers. It is situated 40 km west of Kursk, a city with a population of 415,000, on the bank of the Seim River near the satellite city Kurchatov, located 3 km from the facility with a population of 42,000.

The NPP is a one-circuit plant: The steam supplied to the turbines is produced inside the reactor by the boiling coolant, and for condensing the steam the plant uses water from a 21.5-square-meter cooling pond.

The plant operates four RBMK-1000 reactors launched between 1976 and 1985. In total, since going online in 1976, Kursk NPP has produced over 745 billion kWh of energy, according to Russian nuclear monopoly Rosatom.