Bringing nuclear power to new level: Russia starts building world’s first fast-neutron reactor
Russia’s nuclear energy giant Rosatom has started construction of a unique power unit with an innovative fast-neutron reactor, the BREST-OD-300, in the city of Seversk in Russia’s Tomsk Region.
“The successful implementation of this project will allow our country to become the world’s first owner of the nuclear power technology which fully meets the principles of sustainable development in terms of environment, accessibility, reliability, and efficient use of resources,” said Rosatom’s Director General Alexey Likhachev. “Today, we reaffirm our reputation as a leader in world progress in the nuclear technologies, that offers humanity unique solutions aimed at improving people’s lives,” he added.
According to President of the Kurchatov Institute Mikhail Kovalchuk, the project is aimed at bringing nuclear power to a new level.
We have commenced construction of the world's first experimental demonstration power unit featuring a lead-cooled fast neutron reactor BREST-OD-300. The 300 MWe unit will be the main facility of the Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex (PDEC), an on-site closed nuclear fuel cycle pic.twitter.com/c9QrL8uGxJ— Rosatom Global (@RosatomGlobal) June 8, 2021
“With the launch of BREST, Russia’s Rosatom and the entire world nuclear industry are moving forward,” said the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi. He pointed out that nuclear technologies developed by Russian organizations and research institutes are leading the world energy sector.
The reactor will run on mixed uranium-plutonium nitride fuel (MNUP fuel), specially developed for the facility. The power plant will make an integral part of the Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex (PDEC) – a cluster of three interconnected unique facilities, including the nuclear fuel production plant (for fabrication and refabrication), the BREST-OD-300 power unit, and the facility for irradiated fuel reprocessing.Also on rt.com World’s largest & most powerful nuclear icebreaker joins Russia’s Arctic fleet
The BREST-OD-300 reactor is planned to start operating in 2026. A fuel production facility will be built by 2023 and the construction of an irradiated fuel reprocessing module is scheduled to start by 2024, Rosatom said. The design of the lead-cooled reactor is based on the principles of so-called natural safety, which makes it possible to abandon the melt trap.
The advantage of fast reactors is their ability to efficiently use the fuel cycle’s secondary byproducts (in particular, plutonium) for energy production. At the same time as having a high regeneration factor, fast reactors can produce more potential fuel than they consume and also burn out (that is, use in the process of energy generation) highly active transuranic elements, which are called actinides.
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