Russia’s AEM-Technology announced on 29 August that major welding work has been completed on the multipurpose sodium-cooled fast neutron research reactor (MBIR) under construction at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) at Dmitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk region.
AEM-Technology is part of Atomenergomash, a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom. AEM-Technology said the basket and high-pressure chamber had been welded. The welded seam was more than 6m long and had a wall thickness of 22mm. The basket will be installed inside the building of the research reactor, and will divide the incoming and outgoing coolant flows. It will be more than 5m long and have a diameter of 3m and will weigh 45t.
MBIR, a 150MWt, multi-loop sodium-cooled fast research reactor, will have a design life of up to 50 years will use mixed uranium and plutonium oxide (mox) fuel. It will be capable of testing lead, lead-bismuth and gas coolants, and NIIAR intends to set up on-site closed fuel cycle facilities to support research work, using pyrochemical reprocessing it has developed at pilot scale.
AEM-Technology began manufacturing the MBIR reactor pressure vessel in March 2017, and construction should be completed by 2020. The project will be open to foreign collaboration, in connection with the International Atomic Energy Agency's International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles. It is intended to replace the BOR-60 experimental fast reactor that has been in operation at NIIAR since 1969.