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Russia has loaded about one-third of the reactor core of the BN-800 fast neutron reactor at Beloyarsk-4 with commercial mixed oxide uranium-plutonium (MOX) fuel, state nuclear operator Rosenergoatom said.

Rosenergoatom said the move to MOX fuel at Beloyarsk-4 brings the Russian nuclear industry “one step closer” to its goal of closing the fuel cycle.

It said that for the first time during a planned outrage, which began on 8 January 2021 and concluded this week, only MOX fuel was loaded into the reactor.

Staff loaded 160 MOX fuel assemblies to complement the first 18 which were loaded in January 2020. There are now 178 MOX assemblies from a total of 565 in the reactor core.

Date: Friday, 26 February 2021
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The US Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) have announced the completion of a multi-year campaign to repatriate 161kg of highly enriched uranium (HEU) liquid target residue material from Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, Canada, to the Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina.

Date: Tuesday, 19 January 2021
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169 assemblies scheduled to be loaded into core in January A MOX fuel assembly for the Beloyarsk-4 nuclear power plant in Russia. Photo courtesy Tvel. Russia has manufactured the first full reload batch of fresh uranium-plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for the Beloyarsk-4 BN-800 fast neutron reactor.

State nuclear fuel company Tvel said the 169 fuel assemblies, manufactured at the Mining and Chemical Combine in Zheleznogorsk, eastern Siberia, have been accepted by nuclear operator Rosenergoatom, which has confirmed the consignment is ready for shipment.

Tvel said the refuelling of Beloyarsk-4, near Yekaterinburg in central Russia, is scheduled for January 2021.

The 820-MW BN-800 reactor began commercial operation in October 2016 with a hybrid core, partially loaded with uranium fuel produced by Elemash, Tvel’s fabrication facility in Elektrostal, near Moscow, and partially with experimental MOX fuel bundles manufactured at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors in Dimitrovgrad, southwest Russia.

Date: Friday, 24 July 2020
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Transition to begin in first half of 2021 The Beloyarsk nuclear power station in Russia. Photo courtesy Rosenergoatom. Russia’s BN-800 fast neutron reactor at Beloyarsk-4 is expected to fully switch to commercial uranium-plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel use in 2022, according to a statement by state nuclear operator Rosenergoatom.

The development, a first for Russia, will be an “important step” towards closing the fuel cycle, the statement said.

Rosenergoatom said transition to MOX fuel is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2021, with loading of one-third of the reactor’s core with the new fuel.

In January 2020, operators loaded the first batch of commercial MOX fuel, consisting of 18 assemblies, at Beloyarsk-4. The plant has been since operating a mix of conventional uranium-based fuel and MOX assemblies.

Date: Saturday, 13 June 2020
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First phase of plan to replace all uranium-based fuel with MOX  The Beloyarsk-4 nuclear power plant in Russia. Photo courtesy Tvel. The first batch of commercial mixed oxide (MOX) fuel has been loaded into the BN-800 fast neutron reactor at Beloyarsk-4, a statement by Russian state-owned nuclear fuel manufacturer Tvel said.

During the plant’s first refueling outage, staff loaded 18 MOX assemblies into the reactor core – the first phase of a plan to replace all remaining uranium-based fuel at Beloyarsk-4 with MOX fuel by the end of 2021.

Tvel said another batch of 180 MOX assemblies is scheduled to be loaded into the BN-800 reactor core later this year.

In August 2019, Tvel delivered the first MOX fuel batch to Beloyarsk-4. The assemblies were manufactured by the Mining and Chemical Combine in Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk region.

The industrial production of MOX fuel in Russia is part of a federal programme to develop a new generation of nuclear technologies. The MOX fuel project was led by Tvel. Production began in late 2018.

Date: Wednesday, 29 January 2020
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Russian scientists from the School of Nuclear Science & Engineering at Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) are developing a technology for the construction of high-temperature, low-power reactors which use thorium fuel.

Date: Monday, 29 January 2018
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Russia's Production Association Mayak in Ozersk is to begin reprocessing spent uranium-zirconium fuel used in icebreakers. It has so far not been possible to process this fuel, which has accumulated for decades in storage.

Date: Wednesday, 11 November 2015
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