Completion of MBIR reactor brought forward

09 February 2022

Construction of Russia's MBIR multipurpose sodium-cooled fast neutron research reactor was 8% ahead of schedule at the end of 2021 and is now expected to be completed in 2027, one year earlier than previously planned.

The MBIR construction site (Image: Rosatom)

"I am proud to announce that, despite the global economic challenges and ongoing coronavirus restrictions, we are working ahead of schedule," said Rosatom's Director for Capital Investments, State Construction Supervision and State Expertise Gennady Sakharov during a recent operational meeting.

"The swift installation of the reactor shaft equipment during 2021 has allowed us to get closer to the next stage - delivering the reactor vessel to the site. This was all possible due to effective project management, adopting world-leading technology and the skills of our construction workers, whom we thank for their continued hard work," he added.

Sakharov noted that the progress made to date means that the reactor is now due to be completed one year early in 2027 and will be available to international partners for research programmes the following year.

MBIR's reactor vessel is due to be delivered to the construction site during the first quarter of 2022. A test assembly of the vessel was recently performed at the Volgodonsk branch of AEM technologies.

MBIR is under construction at the site of the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (NIIAR) at Dmitrovgrad, in Russia's Ulyanovsk region.

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 (mixed uranium and plutonium oxide) 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 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.

The MBIR will replace the BOR-60 experimental fast reactor that started operations at NIIAR's site in 1969.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News