Russia loads REMIX fuel ready for pilot operation at Balakovo NPP

5 July 2016

Three experimental fuel assemblies with REMIX-fuel have been loaded into the reactor of unit 3 at Russia's Balakovo NPP, the plant said on 1 July. The fuel loading operation took place during a scheduled maintenance outage, which will last until 9 August, after which pilot commercial operation of REMIX-fuel will start. REMIX-fuel is produced from a non-separated mixture of regenerated uranium and plutonium, which is produced during used-fuel reprocessing. The extracted mixture is doped with a small quantity of enriched uranium.

Each experimental fuel assembly contains six fuel rods with REMIX-fuel along with standard uranium fuel rods (an assembly contains more than 300 rods). The designers believe this quantity "is sufficient to confirm design properties of fuel rods of the new type using results of the pilot commercial operation". The fuel assemblies TVES-2M for VVER-1000 reactors were fabricated and outfitted with the new fuel rods at the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant. The REMIX-fuel will remain in Balakkovo-3 for at least two fuel cycles (about three years). After defuelling, the irradiated fuel assemblies will be sent for post-reactor examinations.

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