Safe Operation of Nuclear Ships

Experience. The first stage was difficult because of lack of experience in the technical operation of marine nuclear reactors as such, and even more of nuclear-powered ships.

Major conclusions drawn after the first period of trial operation were that nuclear power plant is reliable in operation, provides for easy
passing through transient conditions from any power range and gives ice-breakers good manoeuvrability.

The system of a nuclear power guarantees safe charging of power output when energy reactor protection is activated, or when pieces of equipment are out of order.
Biological shielding and other design elements are reliable guards for personnel and environment.

Endurance of 210 days with one charge of fuel was confirmed. At the same time, several shortcomings of the first nuclear steam-generating plant were revealed.

Major equipment had a short service life.

Certain elements of equipment had poor maintainability in the central compartment which was imperfectly designed for radioactive decontamination.

The great number of steeled joints in the primary coolant circuit reduced its reliability, caused temporary reactor shutdowns and contributed to the formation of liquid radioactive wastes.

The systems of electric power supply, control and automation also required improvement.

The short service life of major equipment, such as steam generators, the primary circuit gate valve, etc., a high cost of dismantling/mounting of radioactive equipment were major handicaps to the success of nuclear power.

Solutions included the design of special equipment for the repair and reloading of reactors; and the collection and utilization of radioactive wastes.