Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency are to sign an agreement recognising the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) in Dimitrovgrad as an international research centre during the 60th Annual Regular Session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference to be held in Vienna in September. This was unveiled by NIIAR’s director, Alexander Tuzov, at the meeting with Ulyanovsk Region governor Sergey Morozov and the business community of Dimitrovgrad, according to a NIIAR statement of 22 August. The basis of the centre will be the new MBIR (multipurpose sodium-cooled fast neutron research reactor) under construction at NIIAR. Russian regulator Rostechnadzor issued a construction licence for MBIR in May 2015.
This July a special audit was carried out at NIIAR, during which the IAEA commission assessed the experimental capabilities of the institute, arrangements for work with foreign customers, and the infrastructure of Dimitrovgrad, Tuzov said. At the 2011 regular session of the IAEA General Conference, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom proposed setting up an international centre based on MBIR. In June 2013 Rosatom, the US Department of Energy and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) signed an agreement on cooperation in the establishment of the MBIR International Research Centre (IRC). Rosatom’s deputy director general and director for investment management Vyacheslav Pershukov told journalists in Deptember 2015 that South Korea, Japan, China, and the Czech Republic had expressed interest in the project.
On 24 August the Ulyanovsk regional government announced plans to make Dimitrovgrad one of Russia’s leading scientific and industrial centres by 2030.
"The development programme of the city comprises three areas: the formation of an industrial park, the development of a regional medical industry centred on the Federal Centre for Medical Radiology and the high-tech projects of the nuclear industry," a statement said. The first deputy chairman of the regional government, Alexander Smekalin said there were plans to attract more than RUB10bn ($154m) of private investment and to invest RUB1bn on new infrastructure, which would ensure the creation of 6,000 new jobs by 2020.