The PIK research reactor and all its elements have been upgraded, Rosatom has announced. The new "mega science facility" is one of only four high-flux research reactors in the world.

Inside the PIK facility (Image: Rosatom)

The introduction of new nuclear fuel will allow the high-flux research reactor's run time to be "significantly" increased between refuellings, said Rosatom. This will widen the scope of experiments PIK can undertake.

The PIK research reactor complex is located in Gatchina at the Saint Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics. It was designed in the 1970s, but construction stalled in the 1980s.

The reactor was eventually completed and launched in February last year as part of a national project "for creating world-class mega science facilities in Russia".

"The materials used in the development and the design of the fuel element make it possible ... [to achieve] a maximum specific volumetric energy release of up to 5.5 MWt per litre," Rosatom said.

It added that the PIK reactor was "the world’s largest beam-type reactor research facility with a thermal power of 100 MW, which makes it possible to place up to 50 scientific stations on extracted neutron beams."

There are four high-flux research reactors in operation - the 45 MWt High Flux Reactor in Petten in the Netherlands, the upgraded 85 MWt High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the USA, the 20 MWt Heinz Maier-Leibnitz FRM II in Germany, as well as PIK.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Tuesday, 08 February 2022
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