Design completed for prototype fast reactor

02 September 2014

Russian power engineering R&D institute NIKIET has completed the engineering design for the BREST-300 lead-cooled fast reactor.

BREST 300 - 420 (NIKIET)
Design work on the BREST-300 has been completed (Image: NIKIET)

According to NIKIET parent Rosatom, more than 25 divisions of NIKIET plus 35 other nuclear industry organizations and companies have been involved in the two-year project to complete the technical design for the prototype reactor.

The BREST reactor - standing for bystry reaktor so svintsovym teplonositelem (fast reactor with lead coolant) - is seen as a potential successor to the BN fast reactor series. In 2012, Rosatom announced plans to build a demonstration BREST-300 unit and associated fuel facilities at the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk, near Tomsk. Construction of the pilot fuel production plant began at the site earlier this year, and work on the reactor is pencilled in to begin in 2016.

The 300 MWe demonstration unit will use dense nitride uranium-plutonium fuel with lead as the primary coolant. The inherently safe reactor would be part of a closed nuclear fuel cycle, recycling used fuel indefinitely using on-site reprocessing and associated facilities. Longer-term plans foresee the 300 MWe unit as the forerunner to a 1200 MWe version for wide deployment as a commercial power generation unit. The development program is part of an Advanced Nuclear Technologies Federal Program 2010-2020 that seeks to exploit fast reactors as a way to be vastly more efficient in the use of uranium while 'burning' radioactive substances that otherwise would have to be disposed of as waste.

Fast reactors feature in long-term Russian plans which envisage moving to a closed fuel cycle. The BN-series of fast reactors includes the currently operating BN-600 Beloyarsk 3 unit and Beloyarsk 4, a BN-800 which started up in June and is expected to enter commercial operation in 2015. Design work is underway on the next in the series, the BN-1200.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News