Water energy and the atom: how the nuclear power plants cool, and that is the battery PSP

By itself, nuclear power plant has long been no surprise. But what do you say if we told you that it is just the icing on the cake, consisting of reservoirs, hydroelectric power plants and pumped-storage stations?

The correspondent of “Today” has traveled South-Ukrainian power complex, learned how to cooling water for nuclear power plants, which is a PSP battery how much water you need to get it all worked successfully and how do you choose the names for the huge hydroelectric generators.


Despite the early hour — around 9:30, the sun actively warms the air and makes you Shine deceptive openwork pylons, between which the rush of swallows, sparrows and Swifts. Immediately behind the supports of two younger brothers of the sun actively break down atoms. The third reactor of the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant is being repaired, and the second is not working at full capacity, giving a total of 600 megawatts instead of a thousand. Downstairs is a huge bright spot of the reservoir, on the banks of which, covered with reeds, not crowded by cranes.

The water in storage, they look normal enough, but it is necessary to touch his hand and you realize that the difference is huge: the temperature in the hot tap. Here you can easily build thermal baths, which can easily take all comers (who are not afraid of fictional radiation in water) in summer and winter.

The deceptive water. Very hot — both from the tap in the apartment

Man-made lake divided freshly built concrete dam. A little further work on the barge, the divers — they finish building the watershed, lowering the water special reinforced membrane over the concrete anchors. To work in conditions, when the water temperature is above the street (though the street more than 30 degrees), it is difficult, so the guys try to do everything quickly descended, secured the anchor at the GPS coordinates, up to the surface.

— Here begins the movement of hot water in the reservoir, — says the head of the Directorate of investment “Energoatom” Tatiana Amosova, showing the grey building of pumping station, pumping out heated after the cooling systems of the power plant water. — Now paved Causeway, it separates hot and now cooled water and allow us to enhance the ability of the reservoir to the cooling. To the dam put the pontoon construction, and it anchored Spector that will not allow hot water to get to the other side.

Previously, these facilities were not, the store operated on the principle of “vertical circulation”: the hot water came out from the station, cooled, “the bottom had fallen out” and moved to the water intake. The scheme is simple, but is closed during the summer from high temperatures to cool water does not have time. So instead of the comfortable equipment of 24 degrees (maximum of 33) on the fence, it warmed up to 35.

— We had — and have still — lower power unit, explains Amos. Summer of a million (unit issuing million kilowatt Ed.) — three blocks — never worked at full capacity. And every year the country lost from 500 million to 2.5 billion kilowatts. When we finish construction, all will be overcome, and in the summer the units running at full capacity.

In winter, when the problems with no cooling, one unit issued 1,050 megawatts, a little more than scheduled power. Now the dam is under construction and curtain provide a “horizontal circulation”, forcing water to flow around the structure and increasing the way of cooling. But this is not enough, because on the other end of the reservoir, under the fields and trees, hard at work: there are a sprinkling basins that are also included in the cooling system — they will beat the huge fountains (17 metres tall) that will help to lower the temperature of the water.

Divers. Attach the reinforced membrane for water line

On the one side the channel, where the next year will place a pumping station. From there go giant (2.4 meters in diameter) pipes of pipelines. They will be five, one for each of sprinkling the pool. The pools themselves are also of colossal dimensions — 390 to 140 meters, so the concrete pad correctly and build on top of a maze of pipes with special 360 nozzle (the water in them comes not directly, but slightly to the side and discharged under the action of centrifugal force) is no easy task. However, one site is already finished: gray the array of crown blue pipe sprinklers. Immediately, her second, does the tube still is not painted, being some concrete work. After a couple of years behind them rise three more such sites which will be included from April to October. Naturally, not all together (after all this is the cost of operation of the pump at least). First one, then after a couple days if the temperature is on the fence will not fall, will connect the second and so on.

Pool No. 2. Soon there will be too pipe with nozzles


Sprinkle the pools and the reservoir is not the only getobjecta is southern-the Ukrainian power complex. This includes two stations — “baby” Aleksandrovskaya hydropower and powerful Tashlyk pumped storage plant.

The first is extremely picturesque. Under the bridge, whose gate is raised to a critically low level
14.35 meters, is a man-made Creek, bounded by the dam of the former ascension HPP. The remains of the old station, the first in the country built under the GOELRO plan back in 1927, are at one end of the lower dam. Slightly above — the same abandoned control building. All of this historical monument, which is energy preserved for future generations.

Alexandrovka hydropower plant. A very picturesque place — artificial Creek between the two dams. The lower part of the old ascension the hydroelectric power station built in 1927

— Initially, the local dam was to block the southern bug, — says the chief engineer of the cascade of hydroelectric power station-GAES Sergey Muzychenko. — To raise the river level to work tashlyksky pumped storage power plant. And not to build the dam, just did a little station, let the water flow generates electricity.

Now two small (4.9 MW) hydroelectric units of Aleksandrovsky hydroelectric power station stand for: they need water flow of 20 cubic meters (ideally all 42) in the second, and the river is barely ten issues. Therefore, the turbines are silent, and the water transit goes down, to ensure that downstream people, in particular — the city of Voznesensk. Moreover, specialists say, for their critical intake elevation is 6 cubic meters per second. And in August is extremely hot, the river is shallower and there is a chance that the city will have to go to the supply of water by the hour.

“Tip of the iceberg”. Should be able to cut a little of Aleksandrovsky hydroelectric power station

River manages basin water resources, explains Muzychenko. — We are commanded to pass 17 cubic meters per second from Aleksandrovsky hydroelectric power station to Nikolaev — 137 km and a height difference of a meter, then the sea, Dnieper-bug canal. If not consumption, will drop salt water from the Black sea. Second — the city of Voznesensk, who need six cubes. We have 17 cubic meters, comes to us 10, a week ago, and all was 7 cubic meters. Due to what we can do?

The answer, however, is right in front of eyes: dam Aleksandrovsky hydroelectric power station is calculated for a height of 20.7 meters. However, to raise it higher to 16.9 m will not purely legally: now “Energoatom” conducts all necessary approvals. This expectation leads to the third problem: for the above tashlyksky pumped storage power plant reservoir Alexander is critical. If the level drops below 14 meters, the PSP will simply cease to work.


Compared to the Aleksandrovsky hydroelectric power station, the Tashlyk pumped storage plant is a giant. A huge dam restraining the body of water of artificial lake. The entrance to the control building — blue glass cube which was carved out of explosions in the rock. Underground pipes are laid 10-meter thickness (as a two-storey building).

Tashlyk pumped storage plant. A colossal structure, under the ground, there are 10 pipe diameters from a two-storey house, and the entrance to her cut down by explosions in the rock

When we came in, in 2003-2004, the facility was dilapidated, even the staffing was not — 20 persons of staff, — says the Director of the Kaskad GES-GAES Alexander Palchikov. — During this time, there is machinery, hydraulic and electric shop, in 2006-2007 allowed the first and the second unit is now going third. The plant employs 165 people.

The scheme of pumped storage power plant — an example of the law of communicating vessels. There are two dams, upper — man-made — and the lower the river the southern bug, bounded by the dam Aleksandrovsky hydroelectric power station. They are connected to so-called “flow path” (the same 10 tubes-tunnels, of which there are two, another unit will soon launch, and the fourth is mounted). Upper lake is the battery: the water flows down, turns the wheel, the generator produces electrical and gives it to the network. At night, when the electrician is cheaper (night tariff due to the failure of consumption across the entire network — people are usually sleeping and not cut devices), the generator turns into a motor that turns the wheel in the opposite direction to pump water from the river to the top, again creating a supply.


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We are ready at any time to generate electricity. The start of the nuclear power plant unit — some day. Block thermal power station — a few hours. We run for 10 minutes and after the reset command is issued to the network 300 megawatts of power, emphasizes Muzychenko. — Nuclear power plants operating in base, they give out energy as much as laid. So we fill in the gaps of the night, when it produces excess energy, and morning peaks, when consumption across the country is taking off due to the fact that everything is going to work.
If we use football terminology, “the difference between scored and missed” not in favor of tashlyksky pumped storage power plant — they consume 433 MW, while pump water, and give out 320. However, the water battery is the only way to store energy in advance. Here emerges the problem with the height of the reservoir Aleksandrovsky hydroelectric power station: if the level of water falls below 14 meters, the units of the Tashlyk will not be able to pump the water up, and it is an emergency.

Mine hydraulic machine GAES. After some time here will install all the parts and “close”

Should be able to cut tashlyksky pumped storage power plant is under the ground. Even under the water. The artificial light here, only through a huge hatch in the roof shed solar light, lighting 800-ton turbine rotor designed to assemble the third unit. And all should be able to cut just the tip of the iceberg, most of the building extends downwards, concealing the working parts of the giant machines. One of the walls separates us from the water.

And there was no glass through which to look at the lake? — I am interested in.

— Unfortunately, no — laughing Muzychenko. But I will offer to make the viewing gallery. The only problem is, it’s dark, the sun breaks through 3-4 meters, but you can put the lighting. Nothing is impossible — once there is the underwater world, why not to see?

To the left are the control panels — grey racks with switches, light bulbs and touch screens. In the middle — the top two units. Ahead of two huge gaping holes. Behind them the hangar sort of ends with a wall, but a screen, it continues on. Just limited, to make it easier to heat the room in winter.

— By the way, interesting fact — Muzychenko shows the shaft of the third unit. — There is now the stator, below the turbine shaft below the wheel. Next will be a closed cover, then put the bearing where the rotor will rest. Now, the project is called “hydraulic machine”. And, accordingly, they are given female names. The first two — Antonina and Maria. How does it happen? Is, the operation of winding the rotor in the stator, there is a gap of 2.5 cm, is extremely difficult. Take two cranes, they have this huge round here, and the process of winding — the birth of the car, mom and dad. And then the day I look at the Church calendar and give a name.

On the control station