The metal RPV, with a weight of almost 200 tonnes and a height of 11 metres, was lifted from its concrete shield and relocated to a recently completed underwater cutting facility. An RPV is the heart of a nuclear reactor in which the nuclear process of boiling water and producing the steam required to drive the turbines for electricity takes place.
Tomáš Klein, director of decommissioning at the project management unit, said the upcoming dismantling activities of components like the reactor pressure vessel and reactor internals will eventually reduce the radioactivity of the site by almost 100% by the end of 2022.
As a next step, the reactors will be dismantled remotely and the materials processed for safe storage or disposal.
The decommissioning of Units 1 and 2 at the Bohunice nuclear power station is being carried out by Jadrová a vyraďovacia spoločnosť, a.s. (Javys) and financed by the Bohunice International Decommissioning Support Fund, established in 2001. Contributors to the fund are the European Commission, Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) acts as fund manager.
The fund finances projects to support decommissioning and to introduce new measures in the Slovak energy sector to help minimise the impact of the closure of the two units. To date, the fund has received more than €650m and the EBRD said operations are well on track to complete the decommissioning on target by 2025.
Both Bohunice units were closed in line with commitments made by Slovakia when it joined the EU in May 2004. Bohunice-1 was shut down in December 2006 and Bohunice-2 in December 2008. Both units were 408-MW pressurised water reactors supplied by Russia.