Loading of MOX fuel at Beloyarsk NPP one of the main events in the world energy in 2020, according to the POWER magazine

The reputable American magazine POWER, one of the leading and oldest specialized publications in the field of energy, called the loading of the first batch of serial uranium-plutonium MOX fuel into the fast neutron reactor BN-800 of the Beloyarsk NPP (a branch of Rosenergoatom JSC, part of the Electric Power Division of Rosatom) among the 12 main events of 2020.

The corresponding list can be found on their website (https://www.powermag.com/12-big-power-stories-you-may-have-missed-in-2020).

During the overhaul of the power unit, which was completed in January 2020, the BN-800 reactor was loaded with a batch of fresh nuclear fuel from 18 fuel assemblies (FAs) with MOX fuel* manufactured at the Mining and Chemical Combine (FSUE "MCC", Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk Territory).

Later on in 2020, the first complete reloading of MOX fuel for the BN-800 was made in the amount of 169 MOX-FAs, which were supplied to the Beloyarsk NPP by TVEL JSC.

For the first time after the completion of scheduled maintenance in the first quarter of 2021, only fresh MOX fuel is to be loaded into the BN-800 reactor. Full completion of the transition to the zone with a full load of MOX fuel is scheduled for 2022.

“Power unit No. 4 of the Beloyarsk NPP faces two tasks today: not only to produce electricity, but also to develop elements of a promising technology that is important for the future of the entire nuclear power industry: closing of the nuclear fuel cycle,” - Ivan Sidorov, director of the Beloyarsk NPP said.

Rosatom's strategic line to create a two-component nuclear power industry with thermal and fast neutron reactors, as well as to close the nuclear fuel cycle, will help to solve a number of important problems. First, it will allow the company to multiply the resource base of the nuclear power industry. Second, it will support recycling (after reprocessing) of spent nuclear fuel instead of storing it. Third, this will involve the stocks of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUHF) accumulated in warehouses in the nuclear fuel cycle, enabling its utilization. The development of recycling technologies in the nuclear industry is fully consistent with one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: “Responsible Consumption and Production”.

The POWER magazine awarded the BN-800 NPU of the Beloyarsk NPP with the “Power Awards” in the “Top Plants” nomination.


* Mixed-Oxide fuel is produced from depleted uranium and plutonium. Unlike enriched uranium, which is traditional for nuclear power, the raw materials for the production of MOX fuel pellets are plutonium oxide produced in power reactors and depleted uranium oxide (obtained by defluorination of depleted uranium hexafluoride - DUHF, the so-called secondary "tailings" of enrichment production).

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