The BN-800 sodium-cooled fast reactor at unit 4 of Russia’s Beloyarsk NPP began operating at 100% capacity for the first time on 17 August. Comprehensive testing of the unit at its rated power will be undertaken over 15 days as the final condition in preparation for commercial operation and before nuclear utility Rosenergoatom can receive permission from the nuclear regulator Rostechnadzor to operate the reactor commercially. This is scheduled for late autumn. Since the beginning of this year, as power was gradually increased, Beloyarsk 4 has generated more than 1.3TWh of electricity. It is expected to produce 3.5TWh during the whole of 2016.
According to experts, the power units with fast neutron reactors have great advantages for the development of nuclear energy. With its help it is possible to significantly expand the fuel base of the nuclear energy and to reduce the volume of radioactive waste through the implementation of a closed nuclear fuel cycle.
Earlier in July, during the visit of an international delegation to the unit, Juan Carlos Lentijo, International Atomic Energy Agency Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, said fast neutron reactors were an for producing energy, mainly in developed countries with huge experience in nuclear technologies. At Beloyarsk, he noted there were “very high-level professionals who are really very, very committed to technology development, but also to development of a very good framework of safety and security”.
Hendrik Koets, the European Union's Permanent Representative to the IAEA said Russia “has a good record in the field of safety and reliability of its technologies, at least at the international arena”. He added: “As a representative of the European Union and a former representative of European Atomic Energy Community, I believe that the Russian Federation has made a big effort in this direction. The organization of such visits is a good platform for cooperation".