Rosatom begins development of nuclear fuel for upgraded FNPPs

30 December 2021

Rosatom’s fuel company TVEL and JSC Afrikantov OKBM (chief designer of reactor units) have signed an agreement for the development of the core of the RITM-200S reactor, intended for the modernised floating nuclear power plants (FNPPs), which are being developed to supply power to the Baimsky mining and processing plant in the Bilibinsky region of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug.

They will support implementation of the largest project for the construction of a mining and processing plant based on the Peschanka porphyry copper deposit. The mine's capacity will be 70 million tonnes of ore a year (1.4 million tonnes of copper concentrate). To provide electricity to the Baimsky GOK project, Rosatom proposed using upgraded FNPPs with two new RITM-200S reactor units. In total, it is planned to build four power units: three main ones and one standby to be used during the repair of one of the main units. 

On the orders of TVEL, Afrikantov OKBM, the AA Bochvar Research Institute of Inorganic Materials (VNIINM) and the Kurchatov Institute are participating in the development of the reactor core and its component parts. Substantiations of the operability of absorbing elements, launching neutron sources and emergency protection rods were issued, as well as a technical design for the rods of a burnable absorber. In 2022, it is planned to release technical designs for fuel elements and the core as a whole. The core production will be mastered at the Mashinostroitelny Zavod in Elektrostal (a TVEL enterprise). 

The family of RITM type reactors are widely used in projects of low-power power plants of various designs. In October 2020, the lead universal nuclear icebreaker of project 22220 Arktika with two RITM-200 reactors became part of the nuclear fleet; it is already operating on the Northern Sea Route. The first serial icebreaker of this project, Siberia, has passed sea trials. At the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg, the construction of three more serial universal nuclear icebreakers - Ural, Yakutia and Chukotka is underway.

In addition, on TVEL’s orders in 2021, the element base of the RITM-200N reactor core was developed for a ground-based low-power nuclear power plant in Yakutia. The technical design of this core will also be completed in 2022. The world's first FNPP,  Akademik Lomonosov, was put into commercial operation in 2020 at Pevek on the Chukchi Peninsula. Fuel for the plant's two KLT-40S reactors was produced by MSZ.

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