MBIR project enters installation phase

09 September 2021

Russia's MBIR multipurpose sodium-cooled fast neutron research reactor is now in the installation phase, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov announced yesterday. Likhachov's announcement was made during a working trip to the city of Dimitrovgrad in the Ulyanovsk region to monitor the construction of the reactor, which began at the site of the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) in September 2015.

Alexey Likhachov inspecting construction work on MBIR (Image: Rosatom)

The MBIR project has moved to the phase of installation work, "which is in full swing", Rosatom said. During his visit, Likhachov emphasised the importance of maintaining the work schedule and discussed with specialists the key production aspects of the project's development.

"The Multipurpose Fast Research Reactor project is a combination of the industry competencies of scientists, engineers and machine builders to create a unique world-class facility," Likhachov said. "It is also a unique construction project, a collaboration of engineering companies, construction, industry and private organisations, which allows us to move forward at a dynamic pace. And finally, it is an international collaboration. We are ready to provide a part of the plant's capacities to solve problems to our foreign partners."

During the visit, a package of agreements was signed on cooperation between Rosatom and the Ulyanovsk region to create a "modern social infrastructure" around the MBIR construction project.

The MBIR is a 150 MWt, sodium-cooled fast reactor and will have a design life of up to 50 years. It will be a multi-loop research reactor capable of testing lead, lead-bismuth and gas coolants, and running on MOX (mixed uranium and plutonium oxide) fuel. NIIAR intends to set up on-site closed fuel cycle facilities for the MBIR, using pyrochemical reprocessing it has developed at pilot scale.

The MBIR project is to be open to foreign collaboration, in connection with the International Atomic Energy Agency's International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles.

Rosatom plans to obtain an operating licence for MBIR in 2027 and to carry out the physical start-up of the reactor by the end of that year. The energy start-up of MBIR is planned during 2028 with its commissioning scheduled in the fourth quarter of that year.

The MBIR will replace the BOR-60 experimental fast reactor that started operations at NIIAR's site in 1969.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News