The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 26 September designated the Russian Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR as the second International Centre for joint research projects based on Research Reactors (ICERR). NIIAR, a subsidiary of state nuclear corporation Rosatom, based near the southern Russian city of Dmitrovgrad, will make its six research reactors and other facilities available to IAEA member states for joint research and development projects. NIIAR’s new status will be valid for five years. France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) was the first to receive ICERR status in 2015 for its research centres in Saclay and Cadarache.
NIIAR’s facilities will soon be increased with the construction of the world's most powerful multi-purpose research reactor on fast neutrons, MBIR, which is now under construction and scheduled to be operational by 2020 as the focus for an international research centre on fast reactors. Rosatom Deputy Director Vyacheslav Pershukov said on the sidelines of the 60th General Conference of the IAEA that international interest in MBIR was growing, with the aim of creating a consortium of foreign participants in the project.
"During this year we have held several international meetings, seminars and discussions with possible participants” and agreements have been signed with a consortium of African countries led by South Africa and with South Korea, he said. A memorandum of understanding with France is planned and interest has also been expressed by US company Terra Power, founded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Rosatom intends to register the centre for fast reactors in 2017. Earlier it was reported that 40% of the time working on MBIR will be reserved for Rosatom’s research programmes, and 60% will be set aside be for foreign companies to implement their research programmes on a commercial basis.