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File photo of the Aktau fast breeder reactor. Courtesy Argonne National Laboratory. Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom will help Kazakhstan decommission the BN-350 fast neutron reactor at the shutdown Aktau nuclear site on the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, according to state news agency Ria Novosti.

Ria Novosti said decommissioning of the 350-MW Soviet-era liquid metal fast breeder reactor, also known as Shevchenko and Mangystau, will happen in three stages. The first will involve transferring the reactor installation to safe storage for 10 years. The second and third stages will ensure long-term safe storage for 50 years followed by the dismantling of equipment, buildings and structures, and final management of radioactive waste.

The BN-350 was among the world’s first fast neutron reactors when it began commercial operation in 1973. It was permanently shut down in 1999 and spent fuel removed.

The BN-350 produced electricity and heating for the region, and powered the only land-based nuclear-heated desalination installation in the world. The unit was also used in the production of plutonium.

Two reactor units, BN-600 and BN-800, both successors to the BN-350 type, are in commercial operation at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant near the Urals in central Russia.

Date: Thursday, 30 July 2020
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