Russian nuclear fuel company Tvel (part of Rosatom) has supplied Hungary with nuclear fuel for the Budapest Research Reactor (BRR) under a contract with the Energy Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, signed in 2019.
The VVR-M2 fuel assemblies were produced by the Novosibirsk Chemical Concentrate Plant and will meet BRR's needs in nuclear fuel for the next few years.
BRR is used for scientific and practical research in nuclear physics and materials science. BRR is the main research facility of the Budapest Neutron Centre and is used to study the properties of reactor materials as well as the parameters of the nuclear fuel cycle.
The Energy Research Institute plays a significant role in supporting the operation of the Paks nuclear power plant, which provides about 50% of Hungary’s total electricity generation. Activities cover radiation ageing of reactor materials, radioactive waste management, closure of the nuclear fuel cycle, physics of nuclear reactors, and research into the thermomechanical properties of nuclear fuel.
“The Budapest Research Reactor occupies a special place in the history of our relations: this facility has been operating on Russian nuclear fuel for over 60 years, while the first unit of the Paks NPP was commissioned only 38 years ago," said Tvel senior vice president for commerce and international business Oleg Grigoriev.
“The construction of this reactor played an important role in the formation of a strong tradition of nuclear physics in Hungary, which is important for a country with a developed nuclear power industry. Hungarian specialists traditionally participate in all projects for the development and justification of nuclear fuel for NPPs, this also applies to the operating VVER-440 reactors of the Paks NPP and the VVER-1200 power units of the future Paks II NPP,” he added.
BRR was commissioned in 1959 and has been upgraded several times. Since 2012, the BRR core has been loaded exclusively with low enrichment fuel. The Institute for Energy Research celebrated its 70th anniversary on 1 September.
Photo: Budapest Research Reactor (Credit: Tvel)