Rosatom has completed testing equipment for the production of mixed uranium-plutonium nitride fuel (SNUP) intended for the BREST-OD-300 lead-cooled fast reactor under construction at the Siberian Chemical Plant (SCC, part of Rosatom’s Fuel Company TVEL) in Seversk. The equipment is installed in the Fabrication/Refabrication Module (MFR) at the Experimental Demonstration Energy Complex (ODEK) being developed under at the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC, part of Rosatom fuel company TVEL) in Seversk Tomsk Region).

SCC has been responsible for implementing ODEK since 2011 as part of the Breakthrough (Proryv) project intended to demonstrate closed fuel cycle technology. As well as the reactor and MFR, ODEK will also include a module for reprocessing irradiated fuel. Construction of Brest, which will be the world’s first reactor to use liquid lead as a coolant, began in 2021 and it is scheduled to begin operation in 2029. The MFR is scheduled for operation in 2024.

MFR will use secondary products of the nuclear fuel cycle – depleted uranium, plutonium and regenerated uranium extracted from used fuel. In September 2023, the first tests took place at the section for pressing blocks – blanks for the subsequent production of nuclear fuel pellets. About 600 blanks were made. Aluminium oxide powder was used as a simulator during testing.

Company specialists checked the readiness of the tablet pressing section for operation. To check and adjust the equipment, a batch of tablets was pressed. “We checked the performance of the press in manual, automatic and automated modes, set up electrical equipment, configured the local control system software, carried out unit-by-unit tests of actuators and fully tested the operation of technological equipment on simulators,” said MFR Director Evgeniy Lachkanov. Tests are now being completed on the production line. The initial load of nuclear fuel must be ready by the time the BREST-OD-300 reactor is put into operation in 2026.