Rosatom provides update on sodium-cooled fast-reactor project's progress

BN-800 fast reactor
BN-800 fast reactor | Courtesy of Rosatom

Russian state nuclear company Rosatom detailed progress in the development of the BN 800 sodium-cooled fast reactor late last week.

The BN-800's design is derived from the BN-600, which is currently in operation at the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant, and Rosatom said this is the only reactor of its kind in operation. For the BN 800, design and technological improvements have allowed it to implement an active protection system for the unit and a passive system that can activate should an accident occur relating to the pressure of the cooled sodium.

The BN-600 is submerged in liquid sodium and has been in operation for approximately 30 years. The BN-800 is anticipated to begin its commercial operation by the end of 2016, Rosatom said. Fuel developments were deemed necessary after it was started up in the summer of 2015 for testing.

The company also said a BN-1200 design is currently in development and would be utilized as the Beloyarsk plant’s fifth nuclear reactor.

Research and development of fast reactors began in 1949 across the international nuclear industry in the U.S., France, U.K. and the former Soviet Union. The latter built the BR-1 in 1955 as a proof of concept, and the BR-5 was built in 1959 and was the first unit to act as a testing unit.

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Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation

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