Construction of the BREST-OD-300 lead-cooled fast reactor will begin at Russia’s Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) in Seversk in 2017, according to Alexander Gusev, chief engineer of the research and demonstration energy complex (ODEK), under construction there as part of the Proryv (Breakthrough) Project.

The Breakthrough project will include facilities for fuel fabrication and fuel recycling, as well as the BREST reactor, which together comprise the pilot demonstration power complex (PDPC). Construction of the fuel fabrication module for dense nitride fuel began in August 2014 and installation of the equipment will start this autumn. Contracts to supply equipment for the reactor facility are at the tendering stage. The reactor is scheduled to start up in 2020 and the fuel processing unit in 2022, subject to approval by regulator Rostechnadzor. The necessary personnel for the complex will be trained at the Seversk branch of National Research Nuclear University (NRNU) MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute) and at Tomsk Polytechnic University.

Gusev said that the whole complex will comprise 44 buildings, about 35 of them support facilities such as tanks, sanitary inspection and others, which will serve all three phases of the project. The fuel fabrication facility should be complete by 2018. Work on the site is continuing around the clock. Currently 894 people are working on the construction site involving companies from six cities in Siberia and the Urals.

Meanwhile, the chemical and metallurgical plant (CMP) at SCC will be shut down and decommissioned in early 2017. CMP (Plant M, Facility 25) was commissioned in July 1961 and produced special items of uranium and plutonium.  Some CMP personnel will be engaged on decommissioning. The rest, “who have the relevant skills for  handling highly enriched uranium, plutonium, their recycled products and highly radioactive radwaste” will be transferred to the staff schedule of the PDPC in the fourth quarter of 2017.

As to CMP’s Center of Competences, it will in future study and test technological solutions for fabrication and reprocessing of mixed nitride uranium-plutonium fuel for the fabrication/re-fabrication and fuel recycling modules of PDPC.