|The Independent Global Nuclear News Agency|
14 Dec (NucNet): Russia is planning to build a new 100-megawatt sodium-cooled fast research reactor to be ready by 2017. It will replace the BOR-60 fast breeder reactor currently operating at the Russian Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) in Dimitrovgrad.
BOR-60, which is approaching the end of its design life, is licensed until 2010 and there are plans to extend this until 2015 or longer if necessary, RIAR director Sergei Bychkov said.
The original intention was to reconstruct BOR-60 and money was allocated for this from the Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) budget in 2005. But it was later decided that BOR-60 did not have all the required facilities. Funds have now been allocated instead for a life extension for BOR-60 and the design of the new reactor starting next year.
The new reactor will be used to test different kinds of fuel. It will also have a number of different loops for various types of coolant such as lead, lead-bismuth, gas, and sodium. It will provide electricity and heat to the local area and be used for isotope production.
The most likely site for the new facility will be at RIAR, about 1,300 kilometres south-east of Moscow in the middle Volga region. RIAR, which was established in the 1950s and is the site of seven research reactors including BOR-60, has the necessary support facilities.
The new reactor will use mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel made from stored BOR-60 spent fuel which will be reprocessed using technology developed at RIAR.
Mr Bychkov said the long-term intention is to set up an on-site closed fuel cycle with spent fuel from the reactor being recycled using RIAR’s proliferation-resistant pyroelectrochemical pilot reprocessing facility. This dry processing method avoids the need for separation of plutonium and makes possible rapid, cheap and safe re-use of the fuel.
>>Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers)
Russia Unveils Ambitious Plans For 40 New Nuclear Units (News No. 41, 27 February 2006)
HEU Safely Returned To Russia From Polish Research Reactor (News No. 173, 10 August 2006)
US-Russia Sign Disposition Agreement For MOX Production (News No. 200, 18 September 2006)
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NucNet / Judith Perera
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