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ArticleName The methodology for using underground space to place small nuclear power plants in the arctic conditions
DOI 10.17580/gzh.2019.06.14
ArticleAuthor Melnikov N. N., Gusak S. A.

Mining Institute, Kola Science Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, Apatity, Russia:

N. N. Melnikov, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences
S. A. Gusak, Head of Laboratory, Associate Professor, Candidate of Engineering Sciences,


General trends and experience in the development of world energy demonstrate absence of reasonable alternative to nuclear power plants. At the same time, the severe accidents that had occurred at nuclear facilities clearly show that a necessary condition for the nuclear power development is the unconditional guaranteed safety of nuclear power plants for the environment and population. For this purpose, most countries having nuclear power plants are extensively solving the task of nuclear power plants safety—from the development of principally new reactor designs and safety systems to the general improvement of the nuclear power management. The approach based on the use of underground space for the placement of nuclear power plants takes a certain part in the studies. The approach was formed as a scientific and engineering direction on the basis of experience in operation of underground nuclear power plants built in different countries in the 1960s. The article describes the main directions of integrated studies into the problem of underground space use for placing nuclear power plants, carried out by the Mining Institute KSC RAS in different periods. The studies performed at the turn of the 1980–1990s in collaboration with academic and industrial institutions were aimed at substantiating the concept of the parent underground nuclear power plants in the Soviet Union. The study results showed that utilization of the protective and insulating properties of rock masses ensures safety of both the environment and underground nuclear power plants. In recent years, the Mining Institute has been carrying out research aimed at developing a methodology to construct underground systems for placing small nuclear power plants in the Arctic conditions. This article describes the main study directions and presents some research results on the development of methodical approaches to substantiation of construction technologies for underground small nuclear power plants in the permafrost.
The authors would like to express their thanks to Leading Researchers Candidate of Engineering Sciences P. V. Amosov and Candidate of Physico-Mathematical Sciences V. A. Naumov, as well as Researchers A. O. Orlov and Yu. G. Smirnov for providing some research findings obtained in the studies accomplished under the scientific guidance by Academician N. N. Melnikov at the Institute of Mining, State Contracts Nos. 0232–2014–0027 and 0226–2018–0008_GoI.

keywords Underground space, small nuclear power plants, underground systems, Arctic regions, permafrost, thermal impacts, safety, methodology

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