Production under way of prototype pump unit for lead-cooled BREST-OD-300

06 March 2023

Assembly has begun for the prototype of the main circulation pump unit (MCPU) for the lead-cooled fast neutron reactor BREST-OD-300 being built in Russia.

The prototype will provide key information for the reactor development (Image: Rosatom)

Assembly of the prototype which, including a pump and electric motor will weigh more than 30 tonnes, is taking place at the JSC TsKBM-2 site in the city of Sosnovy Bor, Leningrad Region.

The pump unit will be more than 12 metres in height and is made of a special stainless steel, and will cope with maximum temperatures of 450 degrees Celsius. The unit is designed for pumping molten lead in the primary circuit of the lead-cooled fast neutron reactor.

Testing of the prototype is due to take place by the end of this year, with the results helping to verify technical solutions, refine materials and allow any adjustments to the design documentation.

Igor Burtsev, director general of TsKBM, which is part of Rosatom, said: "This is a landmark event for the global energy sector. The use of lead as a coolant makes it possible to increase the safety of the operation of the power unit, and closing the fuel cycle reduces the amount of radioactive waste. The main activity of TsKBM is pumping and remote-controlled equipment for nuclear power facilities. We will manufacture and supply four RCPUs for BREST-OD-300, the main feed pump, as well as a refueling complex for loading and unloading fuel."

BREST-OD-300 is part of Rosatom's Proryv, or Breakthrough, project to enable a closed nuclear fuel cycle. The 300 MWe unit will be the main facility of the Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex, which is in the process of construction at the Siberian Chemical Combine site. In addition, the complex will demonstrate an on-site closed nuclear fuel cycle with a facility for the fabrication/re-fabrication of mixed uranium-plutonium nitride nuclear fuel, as well as a used fuel reprocessing facility.

A fuel production facility and an irradiated fuel reprocessing module are scheduled to be built by 2023 and 2024, respectively, while the BREST-OD-300 reactor is expected to start operation in 2026.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News