BELOYSARSK BN-800 FAST REACTOR COMPLETES FIRST REFUELING WITH MOX FUEL

Power unit No. 4 of the Beloyarsk NPP with the BN-800 reactor has been connected to the grid and resumed operations upon completion of the scheduled maintenance.
For the first time the refueling has been carried out with uranium-plutonium fuel only. The first batch of 18 MOX fuel assemblies was loaded into the reactor core in January 2020, and now 160 assemblies more with fresh MOX fuel have been added (replacing the assemblies with enriched uranium). Thus, the BN-800 core is now one-third filled with innovative fuel. From now on, only MOX fuel will be loaded into this reactor.
“Beloyarsk NPP has become one step closer to implementing the strategic goal of the nuclear industry development - the new technological platform based on closed nuclear fuel cycle. This means that using MOX fuel will make it possible to involve the uranium that is not currently used in the fuel manufacturing and expand the resource feed-stock of the nuclear power industry. In addition, the BN-800 reactor can re-use spent nuclear fuel from other NPPs and minimize radioactive waste by “afterburning” long-lived isotopes from them. Taking into account the schedule, we will be able to switch to the core fully loaded with MOX fuel already in 2022”, Ivan Sidorov, Director of the Beloyarsk NPP, commented.
The fuel assemblies were manufactured at the Mining and Chemical Combine (MCC, Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk region). Distinct from traditional nuclear fuel with enriched uranium, MOX fuel pellets are based on the mix of nuclear fuel cycle derivatives, such as oxide of plutonium bred in commercial reactors, and oxide of depleted uranium which comes from defluorination of depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6), the so-called secondary tailings of uranium enrichment facilities.
The BN-800 reactor was initially launched with a hybrid core, partially loaded with uranium fuel produced by Elemash, TVEL’s fabrication facility in Elektrostal (Moscow region), and partially with experimental MOX fuel bundles manufactured at the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors in Dimitrovgrad, Ulyanovsk region (NIIAR).
(Source: Rosatom) – Image: Beloyarsk NPP)

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