Russia starts to build MBIR vessel

27 March 2017

AEM-Technology has started the manufacture of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) for MBIR – the multipurpose sodium-cooled fast neutron research reactor that is under construction at the site of the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) at Dmitrovgrad, which is in Russia's Ulyanovsk region. AEM-Technology is part of Atomenergomash, itself a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

 The upper part of the reactor vessel for MBIR (Image: AEM-Technology)

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.

AEM Technology said today that work on welding the upper part of the RPV had started at the production site of heavy machine-building company Atommash, which is another Rosatom subsidiary.

The completed RPV will weigh 83 tonnes, be more than 12 metres long and be 4 metres in diameter, according to the company statement. AEM-Technology will produce a total of 14 pieces of equipment and supporting structures for MBIR, weighing more than 360 tonnes, it added.

"MBIR will demonstrate our company's technological ability," Vitaly Shishov, head of production at AEM-Technology's Volgodonsk site, said in the same company statement. "MBIR is a fundamentally new project that presents us with serious work to do," he said, "both in terms of the quality of the equipment and in the organisation of our production operations."

AEM Technology has said previously that construction of the demonstration reactor should be completed by 2020.

Rosatom launched a tender for the design, manufacture and supply of the components in late December 2013. AEM-Technology was awarded the contract to supply the RPV and its cap, together with the core internals for the sodium-cooled MBIR. The vessel will be enclosed within a safety container in case of sodium loss.

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 (INPRO).

The MBIR will replace the BOR-60 experimental fast reactor that has been in operation at NIIAR's site since 1969.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News