The reactor vessel and internals for the multi-purpose fast neutron research reactor (MBIR) project in Russia will be supplied by AEM Technology. Construction of the demonstration reactor should be completed by 2020.

Russian state nuclear enterprise Rosatom launched a tender for the design, manufacture and supply of the components in late December 2013. The tender documents said that the initial contract was worth RUB 1.8 billion ($50 million).

Saint Petersburg-based AEM Technology — a subsidiary of AtomEnergoMash — has now been awarded the contract to supply the pressure vessel and its cap, together with the core internals for the sodium-cooled MBIR. The vessel — about 11.6 metres in height and 2.5 metres in diameter — will be enclosed within a safety container in case of sodium loss. The total weight of the equipment to be supplied by AEM Technology is some 825 tonnes.

The tender documentation stated that the design of the reactor vessel and internals should be completed by the end of 2014 and that the parts must be delivered to the construction site by the end of 2016. The components are to be installed within the reactor building by mid-June 2018.

The MBIR is to be constructed at the site of the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) at Dmitrovgrad in Russia’s Ulyanovsk region. According to AEM Technology, preliminary work on the construction of the MBIR began at NIIAR yesterday. The general designer of the MBIR is the VNIPIET institute while the chief designer of the plant is NIKIET. The overall project cost is estimated at RUB 16.4 billion ($454 million).

The MBIR project

The MBIR is a 150 MWt, sodium-cooled fast reactor and will have a design life of up to 50 years. It will be a multi-loop research reactor capable of testing lead, lead-bismuth and gas coolants, and running on MOX fuel. NIIAR intends to set up on-site closed fuel cycle facilities for the MBIR, using pyrochemical reprocessing it has developed at pilot scale. The MBIR will replace the BOR-60 experimental fast reactor that has been in operation at NIIAR’s site since 1969.

The MBIR project is to be open to foreign collaboration, in connection with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles (INPRO).

As well as the MBIR, Russia is also developing the commercial-scale BN series of fast reactors, the lead-cooled BREST fast reactor and the lead-bismuth cooled SVBR.

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