Russia’s Proryv (Breakthrough) "is a priority for state nuclear corporation Rosatom, and it will definitely continue," – said Rosatom Deputy General Director for innovation management Vyacheslav Pershukov on 16 December. He was discussing the results of the recent meeting of the operational ODEK (experimental demonstration energy complex) team on construction of facilities at the Siberian Chemical Combine (part of Rosatom Fuel company TVEL) in Seversk. ODEK will comprise a BREST-OD-300 lead cooled fast reactor supported by a fuel complex designed to demonstrate the closed fuel cycle. This will include facilities for fabrication and refabrication of mixed uranium-plutonium (nitride) fuel for fast neutron reactors, used fuel processing and waste management.

"We, together with the equipment manufacturers, have found it possible to reduce the reactor project cost by RUB5bn ($80.5m) by slightly changing technical solutions,” Pershukov said. Now we need time to make these changes, which have been recorded in the project documentation.” He said Rosatom intends to return to the original plan in which completion of the fabrication/re-fabrication unit was scheduled for 2020. JSC SverdNIIkhimmash will begin delivery of equipment for the module in 2017.

Meanwhile, SCC has completed test stand for testing and refining reprocessing technology for ODEK at its radiochemical plant. Experimental design work for the manufacturing equipment was started in 2013, and the stand was put into operation at the end of 2015. A successful trial run on the test stand took place in 2016 in compliance with all the requirements of nuclear and radiation safety. This made it possible to obtain the first results of full-scale experiments in support of the proposed technology for the ODEK reprocessing module.

Sergey Terentiev, who heads the project on the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel at SCC, said the test stand is the only one of its kind in Russia, which can work with uranium-plutonium solutions, as opposed to uranium solutions. It has a high level of automation and safety, he noted.

Russia’s state nuclear fuel company TVEL (part of Rosatom) said earlier it had successfully tested ETVS experimental fuel assemblies with mixed nitride fuel for the BREST and BN fast neutron reactors. TVEL said the mixed fuel assemblies retained their integrity after being irradiated inside the BN-600fast neutron reactor at unit 3 of the Beloyarsk NPP. SCC, which produced the ETVS assemblies, has completed tests and post-irradiation examination of 15, which were loaded into the BN-600.