Rosatom says it has achieved a landmark milestone in construction of the lead-cooled fast neutron Brest-OD-300 reactor at the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC - part of Rosatom’s TVEL fuel company) in Seversk, Tomsk Region. The steel reactor baseplate weighing 165 tonnes has been installed and workers have also loaded into the reactor shaft the first part of the reactor vessel – the lower tier of the containment.

The containment structure is the outer part of the reactor vessel. It provides retention of heat-insulating concrete, forming an additional localising barrier of protection, which surrounds the boundary of the coolant circuit. On its surface, the temperature should not exceed 60 degrees Celsius, and the radiation background is equal to the natural background.

The Brest fast neutron reactor is part of the pilot demonstration power complex (ODEK - Opitno Demonstratsionovo Energo-Kompleksa), which SCC has been responsible for implementing since 2011 as part of the Breakthrough (Proryv) project intended to demonstrate closed fuel cycle technology. ODEK will also include a module for fabrication and refabrication of nuclear fuel (MFR) and a module for reprocessing irradiated fuel. The 300 MWe Brest reactor will use liquid lead as a coolant.

“We have started installation of the world’s first lead-cooled fast reactor, the fourth generation reactor Brest-OD-300. Unlike traditional light-water VVER thermal reactors, Brest has an integral layout,” said Vadim Lemekhov, Chief Designer of the BREST-OD-300 reactor unit and General Designer of the Breakthrough project team. “Its vessel is not an all-metal structure like the VVER, but a metal-concrete structure with metal cavities to accommodate the primary circuit equipment. The space between the cavities should be gradually filled with concrete filler during construction. In addition, the BREST vessel is larger in size, it can be delivered only in parts, and the final assembly is only possible at the ODEK construction site.”

The ODEK project will demonstrate the industrial implementation of a closed nuclear fuel cycle based on fast neutron reactors. Fast reactors can produce more fuel than they use and can also be used to burn highly radioactive minor actinides, which remain after conventional reprocessing. The specially developed dense uranium-plutonium nitride (MNUP) fuel produced at the MFR will be reprocessed, recycled and reused at the site.

Image courtesy of Rosatom

Date: Friday, 19 January 2024
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