Russia to begin testing of remix fuel rods

13 May 2016

In-pile studies of experimental fuel rods with remix-fuel will be undertaken under contract using the loop facility of the MIR reactor at Russia's Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) in Dimitrovgrad. Testing will begin in September and continue until March 2017. Remix-fuel (Regenerated Mixture) comprises a non-separated mixture of recycled uranium and plutonium obtained from reprocessing used fuel which is then mixed with enriched uranium. The work is being done for the VG Khlopin Radium Institute, which developed the remix technology. Maximum contract cost is set at RUB45.3m ($683,625) and the contract will be signed in late June or early July, according to the procurement website of state nuclear corporation Rosatom. The studies will be carried out "in conditions corresponding to that of fuel rods operating in VVER-1000 reactors" to obtain data on changes in remix-fuel parameters during burn-up.

Oleg Kryukov, Rosatom's director for state policy on radwaste, used fuel and decommissioning, said last year that the use of remix-fuel in VVER reactors will make it possible to involve plutonium in the nuclear fuel cycle and reduce consumption of natural uranium by 20% for each recycle. The advantage of remix compared with uranium-plutonium mox-fuel, is that the uranium and plutonium can be reused several times. As well as the VG Khlopin Radium Institute, the project to develop remix has also involved other Russian nuclear industry enterprises, including nuclear utility Rosenergoatom, fuel company TVEL, OKB Gidropress (Podolsk) and the National Research Centre Kurchatov Institute.



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