For the 1st time the refueling has been carried out with uranium-plutonium fuel only.
The 1st 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.
Thus, the BN-800 core is now 1/3 filled with innovative fuel.
From now on, only MOX fuel will be loaded into this reactor.
Ivan Sidorov, Director of the Beloyarsk NPP, commented:
- 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
- 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
Distinct from traditional nuclear fuel with enriched uranium, MOX fuel pellets are based on the mix of nuclear fuel cycle derivatives.
Alexander Ugryumov, VP for Research, Development and Quality at TVEL, noted:
- In parallel with loading the BN-800 core with MOX fuel, Rosatom specialists continues developing the technologies of such fuel fabrication at the MCC site
- The 1st 20 MOX assemblies with high-background fuel have already been manufactured, passed acceptance, scheduled to be loaded in 2022
Serial batch-production of MOX fuel started in late 2018 at the site of the MCC.