Beginners guide to start producing power, (hopefully) without melting the reactor.
This is a complete map of the plant as it is when you start:
Everything in red is the core loop: pressurised coolant is pumped through the core and into a steam generator then back around into the core again.
Everything in green is the condenser loop: pressurised steam is produced from the steam generator which goes through the turbine into the condenser which cools the steam into water to be pumped back into the steam generator for heating again.
Everything in blue is the condenser cooling loop: cold water is pumped from the cooling towers through the condenser (where it picks up heat from cooling the steam) and back to the cooling towers.
The liquids in these three loops do not come into contact with each other, they are completely seperate.
You will start in the control room looking at a load of confusing panels with lots of buttons, we will go through some of the ones we will need.
We will start with the interesting one, the reactor core:
The main thing to look at here when we get running is the temperature, also keep an eye on the pressure, but mostly the temperature.
Next to that on the right is the control rods panel:
Control rods slow down the fuel reaction so we can make use of the energy it provides, note the temperature gauge on this panel, it goes into the red at about ~400C, thats not alot hotter than the core optimal temperature and if you let the rods get too hot the motors fail, so make sure to keep the core temperature below 400C!
The way to control the core temperature is mostly with the control rods, you adjust them with the calculator-looking instrument with the red button.
The number shown is the % the rods are inserted into the core, they start at 100% inserted.
I have found ~96% is where they need to be, but they do need constant adjustment.
Next we will move along to the coolant system panel:
This panel controls the coolant circulation pump for the core loop.
Also down on the bottom right is the “Cooling Circuit” controls, this panel switches “top-up” pumps on and off.
Next is the steam generator and condenser panels:
Dont confuse the steam generator with the “turbine generator”, the steam generator is the boiler, its producing the steam for the turbines to turn the generator.
You need to remember what is happening in this loop, steam is produced in the steam generator and is forced through the turbine to the condensers where it is cooled back to a liquid state then pumped as a liquid back to the steam generator. The gauges here are showing the amount of LIQUID not steam, so if you have too much water in the steam generator, there is no room left in the tank to produce steam, if there is no water there is no steam being produced and that means no power produced. Also if there is no water in the condenser the circulation pump will run dry damaging the pump.
So this is a balancing act, keeping just the right amount of water in the steam generator but still a bit in the condenser for the pump to send back to the steam generator.
The controls here are the condenser loop flow pump on the left and “condenser cooling” flow pump on the right.
The “condenser cooling” loop is from the cooling towers, as far as i can see there is nothing to go wrong on this line, just turn it on the medium setting and forget it.
We will go over to the left now, the pressuriser:
This maintains the pressure in the core loop, i dont know much about it but i believe you need to keep the pressure up to stop the coolant boiling, could be wrong!
Just keep an eye on the pressure from time to time and switch the heater on low for a bit if it drops, there is a handy high-pressure alarm to remind you when you forget to switch it off.
Dont bother with the vent valves unless its an emergency.
On the left of that is the fuel panel:
Not much to worry about here, put the fuel block in and take the fuel block out again. easy peasy!
On the far-left is the controls for the drain valves on the condenser loop, if your steam turbine fills up with water, you can drain it here with the “DRAIN EVAPORATOR VALVE 03”
Or if the condenser fills up you can drain it with the “DRAIN CONDENSER VALVE”
Remember, if you drain too much out you can top up this loop with the “condenser loop” switch on the “cooling circuit” panel.
Next to that is a diagram of the plant:
This shows you the condition of most of the valves and pumps on the plant.
Underneath that is the switches for opening and closing valves, just leave them all as they are.
Lastly is the internal supply panel:
This is for controlling your backup generator and battery supply.
Once you start exporting power remember to switch the generator to automatic and it will go into standby, it will turn on again by itself if there is a loss of power as long as it is on automatic mode.
Keep an eye on the fuel level if you leave it running, you top up the fuel in the generator room on the top floor.
Looking out the window:
That pool is not for swimming, that is the “core outer vessel” just a paddling pool for the reactor to sit in. if you let the reactor get too hot, this pool will boil off! Top it up with the “Core outer vessel coolant flow control” switch on the “cooling circuit” panel, switch it to “LOAD” to fill the pool.
Up on the back wall are three tanks, from left to right:
- Yellow with a spinning top is the circulation pump for the core loop.
- Big silver tank is the steam generator.
- Smaller grey tank with yellow pipes is the pressuriser.
Thats about all you need to run the plant safely.
Oh yeah! This guy:
Best thing to do is send him off to play dominoes in the turbine hall, or “preventative maintenance analysis” as he likes to call it. he will come back in a couple of hours with a list of pumps you have damaged, just send him off again.
Bring the Station Online
First things first, turn on all the instrumentation panels using the activation switches:
Start COOLANT FLOW PUMP 03 and order MEDIUM speed:
Start the CONDENSER COOLING FLOW PUMP and order MEDIUM speed:
Switch on the pressuriser heater, leave it on FULL HEAT:
Set the control rods to 95%:
Watch the pressuriser guages, wait for the pressure to get up to about 125 bar then switch off the heater:
Insert the fuel block into the core:
Straight away you will be able to see the core temperature coming up:
When the core temperature reaches 100C start CONDENSER FLOW PUMP 03 and order MEDIUM speed:
Check the Pressuriser and switch the heaters on LOW if the pressure is low:
Check the overall level in the core loop and top-up if required using the COOLING CIRCUIT – MAIN CORE LOOP switch if required, it seems to drop over time, i dont know where it goes. maybe the plant leaks radioactive coolant somewhere?
Dont forget to switch it back off again later:
Check the steam generator level, if it is too high order SLOW speed on CONDENSER FLOW PUMP 03:
You should be generating power now or will be very soon, when you are generating over 30MW you should switch your backup generator to automatic and start exporting some power, hit the CONNECT TO NETWORK switch:
Stabilise the Plant
Step 1: Check the pressuriser, switch the heaters on/off as required
Step 2: Check the core temperature, adjust control rods as required:
- 100% stops the reaction
- 0% destroys the plant. (save your progress first)
Step 3: Check steam generator level, adjust using the condenser flow pump speed:
- If you need to drain the steam generator open DRAIN EVAPORATOR VALVE 03.
- If you need to add water use the CONDENSER LOOP switch on the COOLING CIRCUIT board.
Step 4: Check “overall” coolant level inside the core loop and top up as required using the MAIN CORE LOOP switch on the COOLING CIRCUIT board.
Step 5: Go back to step one.
Keep doing that and you should be ok!