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 Fast Neutron Reactors

Fast neutron reactors with a closed fuel cycle will play a dominating role in the structure of the future nuclear power. They can provide almost 100-fold increase in the efficiency of natural uranium utilization, thus removing any limits in nuclear power development, which may be caused by shortage of natural resources of nuclear fuel.

OKBM started working in the field of fast neutron reactors in 1960, when development of the first pilot power reactor BN-350 design was commenced. The reactor was started up in 1973 and operated until 1998.

BN-600 Reactor (central) Hall

A more powerful BN-600 nuclear reactor (600 MW(e)) was commissioned at the Beloyarsk NPP in 1980. It continues successful operation even now, being the largest reactor of this type in the world.

бн-800

Fast Neutron Reactor BN-800 (vertical section)

In 1983, basing on the BN-600, OKBM developed an advanced design of the BN-800 reactor for a 800 MW(e) power unit. In 1984, construction of two BN-800 reactors was initiated at the Beloyarsk and South-Ural NPPs. The following delay in the construction was used for design debugging in order to further enhance its safety and improve its technical and economic performance.
Construction of BN-800 reactor at the Beloyarsk NPP (Power Unit 4) was recommenced in 2006, and is to be completed in 2013.
The BN-800 reactor is designed for uranium-plutonium fuel cycle and can be used for effective disposal of weapons-grade and reactor-grade plutonium and burning of actinides and long-lived fission products, which make up the most dangerous portion of nuclear industry radioactive wastes. Innovative engineering solutions and new kinds of equipment can also be tested in this reactor in real operating conditions. To further enhance safety and improve technical and economic performance of fast neutron reactors, OKBM is developing an advanced large commercial BN reactor design.

Building Yard of the Beloyarsk NPP Power Unit 4 (May2010)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building Yard of the Beloyarsk NPP Power Unit 4 (January2014)

 

JSC "Afrikantov OKBM" develops an advanced design of the commercial BN-1200 reactor for a 1200 MW(e) power unit.

BN-1200 Reactor (vertical section)

Prospected programme of the BN-1200 project includes:

  • 2010…2016 – development of reactor final design and performance of R&D.
  • 2020 – commissionning of the first power unit with МОХ fuel, organization of centralized manufacture.
  • 2023…2030 – commissionning of a small series of power units with a total power of about 11 GW.

Along with the decisions positively confirmed during the operating experience of BN-600 and BN-800, BN-1200 reactor accumulates new solutions directed on the further improvement of technico-economic figures and safety increase.

The optimum combination of referential and new decisions and the expanded fuel production possibility allow to carry this project to IV Generation nuclear technologies

The company actively participates in the international cooperation in the sphere of fast neutron reactor engineering. Being the main contractor for the development and manufacture of basic equipment for the Chinese experimental fast neutron reactor (CEFR), OKBM participated in the CEFR physical and power startup in 2011 and still offers consultations on it's operation.

Read more: Beloyarskaya NPP and fast-neutron reactors

 High-temperature Gas-cooled Reactors

HTGRs are sources of heat with uniquely high coolant temperature of up to 1000ºC, therefore the use of such nuclear reactors can significantly extend the sphere of economically effective application of nuclear energy.
In 1970-1990s, OKBM developed a number of HTGR designs of different applications and power levels: VG-400 pilot nuclear power plant for co-generation of process heat and electric power in the steam turbine cycle, VG-400GT direct gas-turbine power-conversion cycle reactor plant, VGM modular reactor plant for generation of process heat (with temperatures as high as 900ºC) and electric power; and VGM-P nuclear power plant for power supply to standard oil refineries. A large complex of scientific research and experimental facilities has been created at OKBM; an immense scope of R&D work has been performed to validate the HTGR designs under development.
Since 1995, OKBM has been participating in the international innovative GT-MHR project.


GT-MHR reactor module:
to the left- power conversion unit,
to the right - reactor plant

 The International GT-MGR Project

To the middle of 1990s, achievements in gas turbines, electromagnetic bearings and highly efficient heat-exchange equipment made feasible the development of an innovative helium-cooled HTGR design incorporating a gas turbomachine for direct power conversion with the efficiency of about 50% (Brayton cycle). This concept has become the basis for the International GT-MHR Project (Gas-Turbine Modular Helium Reactor). Preliminary design of the GT-MHR module was completed in 2002. A complex of development work on the power conversion unit and fuel is in progress.
The GT-MHR power unit provides:
- efficient electric power generation with a minimum thermal and radiation impact on the environment;
- high competitiveness, short construction period and minimum investment risk;
flexible fuel cycle with the possibility of using various types of nuclear fuel (uranium, plutonium, thorium;
- basis for developing a new-generation reactor to generate high-grade heat for industrial processes including hydrogen production from water (MHR-T design);
- impossibility of using spent reactor fuel in nuclear weapons.

Main participants of the Project are:
- JSC "Afrikantov OKBM", NRC "KI", JSC "VNIINM", JSC "GI "VNIPIET", FSUE "SRI SI "LUCH" (Russian Federation)
- State Atomic Energy Corporation "Rosatom"/ USA Department of Energy

GT-MHR design characteristics have become the basis of new MGR-T reactor plant project which is currently being developed for cogeneration of electric power and hydrogen.

Technical characteristics, safety and efficiency of the GT-MHR and MHR-T fully meet the requirements for advanced reactor technologies of the 21st century, which were stated by the Russian President at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000. Activities in this direction are currently in progress.

Read more: High-temperature gas-cooled reactors and Hydrogene energy

 

 Production Nuclear Reactors. Experimental Facilities

The development of production nuclear reactors was reasoned by demands for special nuclear materials (plutonium and tritium) for the nuclear weapons production program. The first production uranium-graphite reactor (PUGR) "A" was developed and put into operation at PO "Mayak" in 1948. OKBM developed the refueling system for that reactor.
Starting from 1948, OKBM, already General Designer, developed a series of PUGR and heavy-water reactor (HWR) designs. In the 1950s, 4 PUGRs and 2 HWRs were constructed based on those designs in Seversk, Zheleznogorsk and Ozersk.
At the same time, three experimental HWRs were developed and put into operation at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP, Moscow), and in nuclear research centers in Yugoslavia and China.
In the 1960s, OKBM developed the new-generation PUGR design to provide weapons-grade plutonium production along with electricity and heat co-generation for industrial and civil objects. These were among the first nuclear cogeneration plants in the world. All in all, five nuclear reactors of this type were constructed. The last of them, having exceeded its design service life more than two times, is still operating and producing heat and electricity for Zheleznogorsk.
During the last years, in accordance with the US-Russian Agreement on the termination of weapons-grade plutonium production in the currently operating PUGR reactors, OKBM in cooperation with other enterprises under Rosatom Corporation was developing PUGR reactor cores conversion designs.
At the same time, a complex of activities was performed to enhance safety and evaluate the residual life of these reactors. At present, unique activities on decommissioning of the shutdown PUGR reactors are in progress.
A new important step in the development of heavy-water nuclear reactor technology was construction of the advanced L-2 HWR in 1988 to replace three previously decommissioned production HWRs. Also, the task of changing the L-2 reactor to the commercial mode of operation to arrange mass production of radioactive isotopes for industrial, medical and scientific applications on the domestic and foreign markets was successfully solved with participation of OKBM.
OKBM actively participates in development of innovative reactor technologies. In 1993-2004, OKBM performed design development, manufactured and delivered equipment for the "Neutron generator", experimental sub-critical reactor, which is currently being constructed at ITEP. This reactor will be used for research of electronuclear processes for future development of a new type of reactors – sub-critical electronuclear.

JSC «Afrikantov OKBM» actively participates in working out of the innovative reactor technologies. In 1993-2004 the enterprise developed, manufactured and delivered to the customer - ФГУП «ГНЦ Russian Federation ИТЭФ» - the equipment for the experimental subcritical reactor "The Electronuclear Generator of Neutrons ", which will serve as the testing facility for the technology of conducting electronuclear processes for the purposes of subsequent creation of new subcritical electronuclear reactors for nuclear-power engineering of the future.

Electronuclear Neutrons Generator, basic diagram
И - injector, НЧУ, ОЧУ - accelerator cavities, ОС - radiation source

 

The experience gained by OKBM during more than 50 years of work in the area of production reactor technologies is widely used in the development of reactor plants of various types and applications..

klt veb Marine Nuclear Power Plants

Russia is the only country in the world that has a fleet of civil nuclear-powered ships. Nuclear icebreakers have been operating in the Arctic region for more than 50 years, thus providing reliable and safe pilotage of cargo ships along the entire North Sea Route.

The first reactor plant for a civil vessel, the "Lenin" nuclear icebreaker, was designed by OKBM in 1955. The Arctic navigation of the icebreaker started in 1959 and continued until 1989 resulting in the pilotage of 3700 vessels in ice fields, which confirmed the high efficiency of the nuclear energy application for icebreakers.

The successful operation of the first nuclear-powered icebreaker initiated a new branch of industry, the nuclear shipbuilding. Eight more nuclear-powered icebreakers ("Arctica", "Siberia", "Russia", "Soviet Union", "Taymyr", "Vaygach", "Yamal", "50 Let Pobedy") and "Sevmorput" ocean-going lighter with ice reinforcement were built in Russia between 1975 and 2006.
OKBM developed 3 RP modifications for them: OK-900A, KLT-40, KLT-40M. The whole set of systems and equipment for these RPs was developed and commissioned with participation of OKBM specialists.

 

The Russian nuclear-powered icebreaking fleet keeps developing. OKBM creates new-generation reactor designs for prospective nuclear icebreakers. At the present time, final design is being completed of the reactor plant for a versatile double-draft icebreaker. After 2015, a series of such ships will replace linear icebreakers and those with the limited draft, which will have completed their service life by that time.


Read more: Versatile nuclear ice-breaker

 

 Reactor Plants for Navy Ships


 

 

 Reactors for Small and Medium Power Stations

Based on the experience in development and improvement of marine nuclear reactors, a number of reactor plant designs have been developed by OKBM for small-sized autonomous nuclear power sources ranging from 6 to 100 MW(e). Those are ABV-6M, KLT-40S, ATETs-80. The plants are intended for combined electricity and heat supply to isolated consumers (both communal and industrial) in remote areas where fuel delivery is too costly. In Russia, those are spacious low-populated areas and ports along the North Sea Route and the Far East Coast, fields of mineral deposits, military bases etc. Outside Russia, those are coastal areas in the developing countries. The application of this type energy sources for seawater desalination in areas lacking fresh water has also been found appropriate.
The ABV-6M and KLT-40S reactor plant designs that are most ready for deployment imply the arrangement of the nuclear power plant on land or on a non-self-propelled watercraft.

Such a floating power unit (FPU) is assembled completely at a shipyard with the use of a well-developed technology of constructing atomic icebreakers and navy ships. After completing comprehensive tests and customer's acceptance procedure, an FPU is tugged to the moorings where it is connected to the coastal network to start operation. The floating design allows decreasing the scope and cost of capital construction in the area of NPP location. The customer receives environmentally friendly heat and electrical energy, while the matters of nuclear waste storage, qualified NPP maintenance and decommissioning on completion of its service life are solved by the plant operator (user) on the nuclear fleet maintenance facilities available in Russia.
In order to demonstrate this technology in practice, a pilot FPU with KLT-40S reactor plant (the prototype of which is the reactor plant installed in operating ice-breakers) is currently being constructed to supply heat and electricity to Pevek.

Read more: FNPP "Academic Lomonosov"

In order to supply electricity and heat power to communal and industrial objects in a number of regions in Russia (in the European part, Ural, Siberia, Far East), OKBM developed a small reactor plant design, VBER-300, with the modular PWR and well-developed passive safety systems.
The VBER-300 ideally combines the latest achievements in the nuclear marine technology including the reactor unit and pressurized primary circuit with traditional nuclear industry solutions (VVER-1000) related to the core and fuel cycle, which meet all major requirements for safety, reliability and efficiency of next-generation nuclear stations.
The reactor unit layout principles incorporated in the design make it possible to minimize the buffer area during construction of stationary power sources.
The important feature of VBER-300 RP is that it can be used as a basis for development of nuclear stations from 100 to 600 MW (e) with the use of unified solutions for the main equipment. It facilitates to the maximum extent the way to achieve the goals of the Energy Strategy of Russia concerning the enhancement of the regional nuclear industry.


Read more:  Regional power engineerimg