The first batch of 20 standard fuel assemblies with mixed oxide fuel is being produced in the new Mox Fuel Plant (MFP) at Russia's Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC) in Zheleznogorsk after signing a contract to supply the BN-800 fast reactor Beloyarsk 4.
MCC director general Petr Gavrilov said the decision to begin production was taken by Rosatom's top management after regulator Rostechnadzor had inspected the equipment and granted a licence, and all the necessary materials and equipment were in place.
The plutonium for the Mox will be supplied by PA Mayak in Ozersk and the uranium by MCC. Component parts for the assemblies are supplied by Mashinostroitelny Zavod.
Commercial production is planned for 2016 but output will depend on orders from nuclear utility Rosenergoatom, Gavrilov explained. He said the ratio of domestic and foreign equipment at the MFP was approximately 50:50. He noted that MCC managed to purchase necessary equipment before the sanctions had any effect while a number of key components, including the robotic complex, were made in Russia.
The first 10kg of Mox was produced at MCC last September. The production line was assembled in a mine 200m underground. Small amounts of Mox fuel for earlier versions of fast breeder reactors in the USSR and Russia were produced at PA Mayak.