Equipment for the production of mixed dense nitride uranium-plutonium fuel (MNUP-fuel) pellets has been installed at the construction site of the pilot demonstration energy complex (ODEK), Rosatom’s Fuel Company TVEL said on 29 July. ODEK is under construction at the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) as part of Russia’s Proryv (Breakthrough) project. The fuel has been developed specifically for the core of the BREST-OD-300 lead-cooled fast reactor, which is also part of ODEK. The complex, when completed will comprise a fuel fabrication-refabrication module (MFR) and a used fuel reprocessing module. The purpose of ODEK is to demonstrate the closed fuel cycle with a fast neutron reactor supported by fuel fabrication and recycling on a single site.
With installation of the new equipment at the MFR, which is intended for dosing raw materials, one section of the technological line for the production of fuel tablets has been completed. The MFR will produce MNUP-fuel for the BREST-OD-300 reactor. The new section, where the installation work was completed, is intended for dosing raw materials, followed by grinding and granulating, which will improve the quality of the press powder. The equipment was developed and manufactured by SverdNIIkhimmash JSC (part of the machine-building division of Rosatom).
Four technological lines will be involved in the production of nuclear fuel: a line for carbothermal synthesis of mixed uranium and plutonium nitride, a line for the production of MNUP fuel pellets, an assembly line for fuel elements and a line for the production of fuel assemblies. After being irradiated in the reactor, the used fuel will be reprocessed and then sent for refurbishment where it will be recycled into fresh fuel. In this way, the system will gradually become practically autonomous and independent of external energy supplies.