Progress on fuel for Russia's Brest reactor

2 November 2015

Mashinostroitelny Zavod, part of Russia's Fuel Company TVEL, has fabricated mock-ups of experimental fuel assemblies ETVS-12 and ETVS-13 with fuel rods of a larger diameter, which are prototypes for the Brest-OD-300 reactor, FC TVEL said on October 27. The Brest reactor is part of the Proryv (Breakthrough) Project based at the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk.

The project includes three stages: a fuel production/refabrication module for production of dense uranium plutonium (nitride) fuel for fast reactors; a NPP with a Brest reactor; and a used fuel retreatment module. Brest is a lead-cooled fast reactor system developed by the N A Dollezhal Research and Development Institute of Power Engineering (NIKIET). The key task of the project is demonstrate an integral closed nuclear fuel cycle.

State-of-the-art fuel production is planned to be commissioned in 2017 in order to try, test and produce the first fuel for the BREST-300 reactor, which is to be launched in 2020. In 2022 it is planned to start up a fuel-processing package to establish a non-waste technology and demonstrate the closed cycle.

Establishment of the experimental test facility at SCC comes under the Federal Target Programme 'New-Generation Nuclear Energy Technologies for 2010-2015 and for Further Extension Till 2020'. The cost of the Proryv project is put at RUB102bn ($1.6bn), of which RUB64 is for the construction of facilities in Seversk.
The mock-up fuel for BREST was fabricated to the order of the AA Bochvar Research Institute of Inorganic Material (VNIINM) and the acceptance commission included representatives of VNIINM, OKBM, SCC and others. Tests of earlier design prototype assemblies with nitride fuel are already being carried out at the fast neutron reactor BN-600 at Beloyarsk NPP.

The construction of the reactor BREST-300 will begin in 2016 in Seversk, according to Project Breakthrough head Vyacheslav Pershukov.

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