Rosatom began industrial production of nuclear fuel of the future

Rosatom began industrial production of nuclear fuel of the future

The first fuel assemblies of mixed oxide uranium-plutonium MOX fuel are produced at Rosatom State Mining Corporation (GCC, Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk Territory) —, which will be used in the fast neutron reactor at power unit No. 4 of the Beloyarsk NPP, a prototype of commercial nuclear power plants.

The first five fuel assemblies of the MOX fuel assemblies for the BN-800 reactor of the Beloyarsk NPP have been produced. Thus, the stage of mastering the production of the MOX Mining-Chemical Combine complex has been completed

The measures developed by the Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC, or GKhK) together with a number of Rosatom enterprises are currently being implemented and aimed at increasing the productivity of production in order to fulfill the annual plan – 40 fuel assemblies.

The power unit No. 4 of the Beloyarsk NPP is necessary for the development of a number of technologies for closing the nuclear fuel cycle based on “fast” reactors. In such a closed cycle, due to the expanded reproduction of nuclear fuel, it is believed that the fuel base of the nuclear power industry will expand significantly, and it will also be possible to reduce the volumes of radioactive waste due to the burning of dangerous radionuclides.

Unit 4 of the BNPP with the BN-800 reactor became the prototype of the more powerful commercial “fast” BN-1200 power units. The decision to build a pilot BN-1200 unit also at the Beloyarsk NPP could be made in the early 2020s.

The BN-800 reactor is designed to use MOX fuel in it, in which plutonium can be used, separated in the process of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel from thermal neutron reactors, which form the basis of modern atomic energy. The industrial production of MOX fuel for the BN-800 was built at the Mining and Chemical Combine with the participation of more than 20 organizations of the Russian nuclear industry.

The initial fuel loading of the BN-800 reactor was formed mainly from traditional uranium oxide fuel. At the same time, part of the fuel assemblies contains MOX fuel produced at pilot plants of other Rosatom enterprises – RIAR (Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk Region) and Mayak Production Association (Closed City Ozersk, Chelyabinsk Region). Over time, the BN-800 reactor should be transferred to MOX fuel produced by MCC.

The Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Mining and Chemical Combine” (part of the division of the final stage of the life cycle of objects using atomic energy of Rosatom) has the status of a federal nuclear organization. MCC is the key enterprise of Rosatom for the creation of a technological complex of a closed nuclear fuel cycle based on innovative technologies of the new generation. For the first time in the world, three high-tech conversions are concentrated at the Mining-Chemical Combine: storage of spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants, its processing and production of new nuclear MOX fuel for fast neutron reactors.

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Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.