Russia’s NA Dollezhal Scientific Research and Design Institute of Power Engineering (Nikiet) has won a tender to develop a technical project for the Shelf-M microreactor by the end of 2025, Rosatom has announced.

Nikiet will develop the technical design of the reactor unit (and the main technological equipment of the main low-power nuclear power plant (ASMM) based on the Shelf-M reactor unit, which provides electric generation of up to 10 MW. According to the documents posted on the public procurement website, the contractor will have to complete the task in six stages, submitting the results of work by the end of 2024. The contract amount is RUB3.987 billion ($66.6m).

The station, as stated in the technical specification, must operate at temperatures from minus 60 to plus 40 degrees Celsius. The Automated Control and Management System (ACS) must ensure stable operation of the reactor or its shutdown without the participation of operational personnel.

Denis Kulikov, chief designer of the ASMM reactor units at Nikiet said that the ASMM based on the Shelf-M reactor will be put into commercial operation in 2030 and the site will be determined in 2023. This will be "one of the sites in the Arctic zone of Russia”, he noted.

He explained that the ASMM with the Shelf-M reactor is designed for power supply of facilities in remote areas with undeveloped network infrastructure. This could be for the development of mineral deposits and the implementation of social projects in the Far North. The plant's service life is 60 years, and the reactor operates for about eight years on a single fuel load. The thermal capacity of the reactor is 36 MW, which will allow generating up to 10 MW of electric energy.

A key difference between this ASSM and traditional large NPPs is that the plant is delivered to the site in separate modules with a high degree of factory readiness, including the reactor unit itself.

In mid-June, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Rosatom Director General Alexei Likhachev and the head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Aisen Nikolaev signed an agreement on the construction in Yakutia of an ASMM with the Shelf-M reactor.

Image: The Shelf-M microreactor concept (courtesy of Rosatom)