Lead-cooled fast reactor construction underway in RussiaS. Himmelstein | June 09, 2021
Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer TVEL and Rosatom have initiated construction of a 300 MW nuclear power unit enabled with the innovative BREST-OD-300 lead-cooled fast reactor at the site of the Siberian Chemical Combine in Seversk.
The reactor will run on mixed uranium-plutonium nitride fuel, or MNUP, which has been specially developed for this facility. The Siberia installation is considered the world’s first experimental demonstration power unit featuring a lead-cooled fast neutron reactor.
The project marks the first time a nuclear power plant powered by a fast reactor will be built alongside closed nuclear fuel cycle servicing enterprises on one site. It will be an integral part of the Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex — a cluster of three interconnected facilities including the nuclear fuel production plant, the power reactor and a facility for irradiated fuel reprocessing.
The 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.
According to TVEL, the BREST-OD-300 reactor will provide itself with its main energy component — plutonium-239 — by reproducing it from the isotope uranium-238.