Work continues at Breakthrough project in Russia

22 August 2017

Work is continuing to construct the facilities an experimental demonstration power complex (ODEK) as part of Russia’s Proryve (Breakthrough) project at the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) in Seversk. The project includes facilities for fabrication/refabrication of dense nitride fuel and for fuel recycling, as well as a lead-cooled Brest-OD-300 fast reactor. Work is currently underway at 41 sites related the the first stage of the fuel fabrication plant, SCC director general Sergey Tochilin told journalists on 17 August.

A total of more than 20 Russian scientific institutions are involved in the project and all construction and installation work are on schedule at the fuel fabrication plant which is scheduled for completion in 2020, he added. In May, SCC reported that more than 100,000 cubic metres of concrete had been laid at the fuel fabrication plant - first concrete was poured in August 2015 – and that equipment installation had begun.

“This year we will also receive a licence from Rostekhnadzor for the construction of the reactor, which we are to start building next year,” Tochilin, noted. Construction of Brest was originally scheduled to start this year and contracts to supply equipment are at the tendering stage.

At the end of last year there were rumours that the reactor might be cancelled. However, in January, state nuclear corporation Rosatom said it was not cancelling the project but deferring it to optimise the best use of scarce resources in view of the difficult economic situation currently facing Russia. Rosatom clarified that it had adjusted the Proryv project, which is intended to demonstrate closing the nuclear fuel cycle, to reduce the capital costs of the federal target programme (FTP) "Nuclear Power Technologies of New Generation in 2010-2015 and until 2020".

According to Tochilin, the total number of employees at the project’s three facilities, when it is completed, will be 1,500. Currently workers are beign recruited for the fuel fabrication plant with will employ 500. “We will offer employees the opportunity to improve their qualifications or to retrain. Such programmes have been established jointly with the North branch of NNRU MEPhI. We must prepare and recruit people about a year and a half before launching into operation. We are now setting up a fast energy centre, and MEPhI will also train personnel in this area.”

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