Development of Nuclear Power
The work on creation and development of Kazakhstan nuclear power composed one of the principal sections in the Republican Target Scientific-and-Technical Program elaborated in 1992 - 1993 and defined goals, tasks and directions of the National Nuclear Center and its institutions.
Kazakhstan Governmental Resolution #925 dated August 20, 2002 adopts the development concept for uranium industry and nuclear power engineering of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the years 2002-2030. The tasks put by in the concept aim at transformation of Kazakhstan power engineering into a high-tech, science intensive, dynamically developing branch that would become a solid basis of forced and sustainable development of the national economics and the nation's prosperity improvement. Now, a national program of RK nuclear industry and power engineering development is under elaboration.
The Program covers the period 2000 to 2030 and defines a strategy of the first stage in creating and developing the national nuclear power.
One of the first steps in carrying out this program was to conduct a feasibility study for construction of nuclear power plants. The NNC RK specialists performed a great work to conduct feasibility studies for building nuclear power plants in certain regions (South Kazakhstan NPP), to validate investments in construction of low-power atomic plants in Leninogorsk and Kurchatov, to develop feasibility proposals on use of nuclear power sources in order to solve problems of Almaty heat-and-power supply.
A successful development of the nuclear power is impossible without solving problems of its safe operation. To create reactors of enhanced safety and systems for localizing design and out-of-design accidents there is a need for detailed analysis of processes related to core melting, fuel, material and nuclear reactor structure behavior in transient and accident modes. One of the directions to validate nuclear power safety is experimental simulation of processes accompanying specific phases in evolution of NPP severe accidents that involve reactor core melting.
At present final phases of severe accidents are least examined when core materials melt (corium) falls on a lower head of the reactor power vessel. The work in this direction on the Semipalatinsk experimental base was started in 1983 and is still continued.
The uniqueness of NNC RK experimental base, results and experience gained through studying the behavior of nuclear reactor fuel, material and structure in simulating transient and accident operation modes cause interest of specialists from different countries.
The most important studies in recent years are those on two projects: experimental studies to validate light-water reactor safety (COTELS project) and experimental studies to validate safety of fast reactors (EAGLE project).