Oxides of depleted uranium (an important level of enrichment below the natural) are used for the production of uranium-plutonium MOX fuel necessary for a new generation of fast neutron reactors. It is the “fast” reactor plant are an essential element for creating two-component nuclear power (with reactors on thermal and fast neutrons) with a closed fuel cycle. In addition to depleted uranium, the fuel of MOX tablets is also used plutonium produced in the reactor core, and thus, they consist entirely of secondary products of the nuclear fuel cycle.
In 2019, the Fuel company TVEL supplied the first batch of MOX fuel for fast reactor bn-800 at Beloyarsk NPP in Sverdlovsk region. And in January 2020, after refueling, the unit began to produce electricity in the network, including innovative MOX fuel assemblies. This year, the station begins a gradual transition to full loading of the active zone of the bn-800 MOX fuel.
meanwhile, the uranium-plutonium fuel from recycled products can be used not only in “fast” reactors, but in the classic pressurized water reactor plants thermal neutron. This decision for the Russian VVER is the REMIX-the fuel that is produced from unseparated mixtures of recovered uranium and plutonium produced during the reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel, with the addition of a small amount of enriched uranium (REMIX – the regenerated mixture from the reduction). Thus, the technology involves the reuse of not only plutonium contained in spent fuel, but the residual (not “burnt”) the amount of uranium-235.
in 2016, the REMIX-the fuel is a pilot operation in one of the reactors VVER-1000 at Balakovo NPP in the Saratov region. Technologically, it’s the standard fuel assemblies of VVER-1000, which produces the Novosibirsk chemical concentrates plant (a company of the fuel division of “Rosatom”), but each of the experimental fuel assemblies contain several experimental fuel rods, inside of which is not classic uranium dioxide, and pills from the uranium-plutonium mixture. This year the station has begun a third cycle of irradiation REMIX-FA.
As in the case of MOX fuel, this technology is designed to increase the efficiency and reduce the consumption of natural uranium. After unloading from the reactor fuel assemblies with an innovative fuel will be delivered in scientific research Institute of atomic reactors (Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk oblast) for further investigation.
Strategic objective-use a REMIX – and of MOX fuel – the closed fuel cycle in the framework of the so-called two-component nuclear energy, when units with light water jetstori thermal neutron, forming the basis of the world nuclear power will be operated in conjunction with reactors on fast neutrons.
With such a two-component power system of plutonium from spent fuel, is once again involved in the nuclear fuel cycle, becoming fuel for fast reactors. The number of such repetitions in the two-component system is not limited.
More details about the transition of power unit bn-800 of Beloyarskaya NPP MOX fuel, experiment with REMIX-fuel of water-water VVER-1000 reactor at Balakovo, testing and demonstration center for the production of such nuclear fuel at the Mining and chemical combine in Zheleznogorsk, and other locations and events in “the Breakthrough” read the next issue of “Russian newspaper”.