New vitrification oven for Russia's Mayak

22 July 2015

Russia's PA Mayak in Ozersk plans to commission a new, fifth, vitrification furnace for high-level waste (HLW) EP-500/5 before the end this year, the company said.

Principle contractor Atomstroyexport says installation should be completed by 1 December. Originally the plant was to be commissioned in 2014. Mayak currently processes used fuel from NPPs with VVER-440 reactors, the BN-600 reactor, submarine propulsion nuclear reactors and research reactors. The plant's nameplate capacity is 400 tons a year but its output is far less.

The new furnace will incorporate technical improvements compared with the four operating furnaces which were installed between 1987 and 2010. The design includes new engineering solutions aimed at improving reliability and extending operating life. The new facility will include an electric furnace, a glass pouring chamber, and transportation and handling equipment. In addition, three storage compartments will be built to house vitrified HLW.

The EP-500/5, designed and supplied by SverdNIIkhimmash, was constructed under federal target programme "Nuclear and Radiation Safety" and the Comprehensive Action Plan drawn up to tackle the serious environmental problems resulting from Mayak's past activities. Mayak (formerly known as closed city Chelyabinsk 65 or Chelyabinsk 40) was established in the late 1940s to produce plutonium for the nuclear weapons programme.

As well as reprocessing, Mayak produces isotopes from its two reactors (known as Ruslan and Lyudmila), accounting for over a half of Russian isotope exports. It also operates a small experimental MOX fuel production facility, which has been in operation since 1993, producing fuel for the BN-600 fast breeder reactor at Beloyarsk.

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