Russia optimizes fabrication of nitride fuel assemblies

30 March 2016

Russia's Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) has optimized fabrication of experimental fuel assemblies (ETVSs) with mixed uranium-plutonium nitride (dense) fuel for fast neutron reactors, SCC said on 28 March. "In 2015 SCC managed to optimize the process flow of ETVSs for BN-1200 and BREST-OD-300 reactors," according to a company statement. The costs of ETVS fabrication last year dropped by 37%, fabrication time was reduced by more than 25% and reject-free products approached 80%.

ETVSs are fabricated by SCC's chemical and metallurgical plant. Last year, the plant completed the first series of prototype bundles with nitride fuel, which are now being tested in BN-600 fast reactor at Beloyarsk NPP and then undergoing post-reactor examinations in the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR0 in Dimitrovgrad. This spring SCC plans to start making the next series of ETVSs, which would be of a different design.

SCC director general Sergey Tochilin said earlier that SCC would be ready to produce dense fuel on commercial basis in 2018. The nitride (dense) fuel fabrication module is part of the Pilot Demonstration Power Complex (PDPC) at the SCC site. According to Tochilin, construction and installation on the nitride fuel fabrication plant (first module of the PDPC) will be completed in 2017.

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