In 2022, the first Russian NPP power unit running fully on renewable fuel is to be launched

In 2022, the 4th power block of the Beloyarsk NPP with a BN-800 fast-neutron reactor will be the first one in the history of our country to fully switch to uranium-plutonium MOX fuel. This will be an important step towards closure of the nuclear fuel cycle.

The full-scale transition of the Beloyarsk NPP BN-800 reactor to having a reactor core fully loaded with uranium-plutonium MOX fuel is planned for H1 2021. Fuel assemblies containing MOX fuel will be placed into the core, accounting for one-third of the total number of assemblies.

Since the beginning of the 4th power block’s operation and until now, the BN-800 has been operating a hybrid core combining fuel assemblies with uranium oxide fuel and those with tablet and vibration-consolidated MOX fuel.

‘We plan for the BN-800 reactor to switch from a hybrid core to an active core fully loaded with tablet MOX fuel assemblies. The Mining and Chemical Plant in the Krasnoyarsk region is producing those for us: uranium and plutonium dioxide in the fort of tables is used as a fuel. The BN-800 reactor is designed for using MOX-fuel specifically, this is one of the stages on the way of the national nuclear power industry to handle a closed nuclear fuel cycle’, Vladimir Shaloumov, the head of nuclear safety and reliability at the Beloyarsk NPP, said.

The transition to 100% MOX fuel will be done in stages: in H1 2021, one-third of assemblies loaded into the BN-800 reactor will be those with MOX-fuel. The remaining two-thirds will be placed into the core during the subsequent loading sessions. That said, the active core fully powered by tablet MOX fuel is to be finalized in H1 2022.

In the future, the formation of a closed nuclear fuel cycle will help to establish two-component nuclear power industry operating fast-neutron and thermal neutron reactors at the same time. This will enable exponential extension of the nuclear power industry’s fuel basis, start utilizing the uranium-238 isotopes, re-use spent nuclear fuel, and minimize radioactive waste. Practicing the elements of a closed nuclear fuel cycle is one of the primary tasks for the Beloyarsk NPP 4th power block, on top of the electric power production.

Back to the list