Russia's new step towards the closed nuke fuel cycle

Russia’s new step towards the closed nuke fuel cycle


Russia’s Nuclear Industry Day, on 28th of September, Rosatom’s Mining and Chemical Plant in Krasnoyarsk Krai started commercial production of MOX fuel – a fuel for nuclear reactors of the future.
Mixed oxide (MOX) fuel is nuclear fuel that contains more than one oxide of fissile material. The term generally describes plutonium blended with natural, enriched or depleted uranium. The mixture reacts similarly, although not identically, to low-enriched uranium fuel used in most nuclear reactors.A MOX fuel fabrication facility was launched last year at the Mining and Chemical Plant (MCP) to make fuel for the BN-800 fast breeder reactor at Beloyarsk NPP Unit 4. All required tests were completed earlier this year, and the facility started commercial production of MOX fuel to mark a new stage in the development of closed fuel cycle technologies for the civil nuclear industry.
Rosatom CEO Sergei Kirienko took part in the opening ceremony. “It is a new generation facility capable of processing any plutonium isotopes and opening up broad prospects for a new generation of nuclear technologies,” he said. “The work has not stopped at this point, and the MCP team is about to launch the Pilot Decommissioning Center. Everything what we do here at the MCP enables us to establish an unparalleled facility, which makes the closed nuclear cycle a reality.”
Kirienko noted that France was the first to have produced MOX fuel but the MCP facility was “at least a generation ahead”. The USA spent eight years and 8 billion US dollars but did not go the distance. Russia spent 30 times less money and only two years to build the MOX fabrication facility and created 500 new jobs.
The new facility will be capable of fabricating REMIX fuel, which is a mix of uranium and plutonium isotopes for thermal-neutron reactors. Unlike the French fuel for thermal reactors, which can be re-used just once, this fuel can be re-used (re-cycled) repeatedly. – Rosatom via Triune Group press release.


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