Construction of a new reactor begins in Russia
Oct 03, 2022

Construction of a new reactor begins in Russia

For the first time in the world, the Russian nuclear industry is moving to the development of new civilian power reactor installations.   Editor-in-Chief of the Atomic Energy Information Portal Alexander Uvarov told RIA Novosti that "Construction of a new reactor is beginning in Russia and thus a new, "onshore" direction of reactors with heavy metal coolant is being opened, which has not been mastered anywhere else in the world in the civil nuclear power industry," He recalled that Russia - the only country with successful experience in the operation of heavy metal coolant reactors used on a number of Soviet nuclear submarines.

The power unit with an installed electric capacity of 300 MW with the BREST-OD-300 reactor should become a key object of the experimental and demonstration energy complex (ODEC), which is being built at the SHK site as part of the strategic industry project "Breakthrough" In addition to the power unit, ODEC includes a complex for the production of mixed nitride uranium-plutonium nuclear fuel for the BREST-OD-300 reactor, as well as a spent fuel reprocessing complex. The complex will create a closed nuclear fuel cycle, which will make it possible not only to produce electricity, but also to prepare new fuel from the fuel discharged from the reactor core. Earlier it was reported that the launch of the BREST-OD-300 reactor is scheduled for 2026. The BREST-OD-300 reactor is designed for practical confirmation of the main technical solutions embedded in reactor installations with lead coolant in a closed nuclear fuel cycle, and the main provisions of the concept of natural safety on which these solutions are based.     The reactor features make it possible to abandon large volumes of hermetic shells, melt traps, a large volume of supporting systems, as well as reduce the safety class of non-reactor equipment.   Lead coolant has a number of advantages. Firstly, it slows down neutrons a little, which is fundamentally important for the operation of "fast" reactors. In addition, lead has a high boiling point (about 1.8 thousand degrees Celsius), it is chemically inert in contact with water and air, does not require high pressure in the coolant circuit.   The combination of the properties of heavy lead coolant and dense heat–conducting nitride fuel creates conditions for achieving complete reproduction of nuclear fuel and eliminates the most severe accidents - with uncontrolled power growth (as in Chernobyl) and loss of heat removal from the reactor core (as in Fukushima). This is the essence of the natural safety of the BREST-OD-300 reactor.   The integral design of the reactor plant allows to localize coolant leaks in the volume of the reactor vessel and to exclude the dehumidification of the core. This excludes accidents requiring evacuation of the population, which in fact means that the radiation safety of the environment is guaranteed not by technical means and methods, but by the very absence of activity beyond the already existing natural levels.

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