Russia completes testing of latest fast reactor fuel

22 January 2020

Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) has completed acceptance tests of its ETVS-22, ETVS-23 and ETVS-24 experimental fuel assemblies with mixed uranium-plutonium (nitride) nuclear fuel for fast neutron reactors. Based in Seversk, SCC is a subsidiary of TVEL, the nuclear fuel manufacturing subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

Russia's Breakthrough project aims to enable a closed nuclear fuel cycle (Image: Rosatom)

The work is part of Rosatom’s 'Proryv', or Breakthrough, project to enable a closed nuclear fuel cycle. This project comprises a fuel production/refabrication module for production of dense uranium plutonium (nitride) fuel for fast reactors; a nuclear power plant with a BREST reactor; and a used fuel retreatment module.

The acceptance committee was chaired by Alexey Glushenkov, chief expert of the AA Bochvar Research Institute of Inorganic Materials, and included representatives from SCC, TVEL, OKBM Afrikantov, Nikiet and Zarubezhatomenergostroy, as well as from the Breakthrough project. They checked the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the fuel, namely: the quality of welded joints and assembly structures; the absence of surface radioactive and mechanical contamination; and compliance with the working design documentation.

Rosatom said the experimental nuclear fuel was manufactured using technology "as close as possible" to the industrial design, which will be used for the fabrication and re-fabrication module of the pilot demonstration energy complex under the Proryv project. Four fuel rods equipped with "bevelled tablets" were installed in each fuel assembly.

Reactor tests of the experimental fuel assemblies are a continuation of previously begun work on testing of experimental fuel assemblies with prototype BREST-OD-300 fuel rods in the BN-600 reactor, Rosatom said, adding that fuel will be delivered to the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant in the first quarter of this year.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News