Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Russia plans new 100 MW fast reactor

It is a pilot for a commercial fast breeder

svbr100NucNet: The Moscow division of Russian nuclear engineering company Atomenergoproekt (AEP) released design documents for the construction of a pilot industrial fast reactor, SVBR-100, (conceptual image right) according to parent company, the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.

Rosatom said Feb 7 that design documents for the fast-neutron SVBR-100 had been drafted ahead of the planned construction of an industrial unit at JSC NIIAR, Russia’s Research Institute of Atomic Reactors in Dimitrovgrad.

The SVBR-100 is a 100-megawatt small modular reactor with lead-bismuth coolant. When using mixed oxide plutonium-uranium (MOX) fuel, it operates on a closed fuel cycle.

Modular design

According to AEP documents, the advantage of this reactor technology is the modular design allows creating nuclear power plants of different capacity in multiples of 100 MWe. It uses a standardized reactor module which is to be manufactured at in a factory and is delivered the NPP site. It allows the application of advanced methods of flow arrangement of construction and reduces the investment cycle of NPP construction.

AEP said the design could be used for floating reactors that could be moved from place-to-place. Also, AEP said another prospective use is to replace coal-fired boilers especially in eastern Europe which has a lot of low grade dirty coal burned to make electricity.

Rosatom said that Atomenergoproekt specialists had been working on the SVBR model since 2006.

The current project foresees the construction of a pilot plant by 2017. It has three main partners: Atomoenergoproekt OJSC (Moscow); Gidropress OJSC and the Russian state research centre in Obninsk, the Energy Physics Institute.

Competition with U.S. SMRs?

In the U.S. Hyperion Power, with offices in New Mexico, is developing a 25 MW fast reactor which also reportedly will use a lead-bismuth cooling system for the primary loop.

Neither developer released information on secondary loops nor information whether the efficiency of the reactor design would make it more practical for electricity or process heat applications.

Hyperion has also touted its design as capable of being manufactured in a factory setting and as a replacement for coal-fired boilers in eastern Europe.

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Robin said...

Russia is way ahead of the U.S. in lead-bismuth technology. This will shape up to be an interesting horse race. My call: Russia will get to the finish line first since the NRC has no success path to licensing the Hyperion product.

Momchil Pekov said...

There is no regulatory framework for nuclear nuclear reactors inside a city in Eastern Europe e.g. Bulgaria. I don't think that there will be no public acceptance for a district heating plants retrofitment with nucelar reactors.