July 2, 2021

ROSATOM STARTS PRODUCTION OF URANIUM-PLUTONIUM FUEL ASSEMBLIES FOR LIGHT-WATER REACTORS

On June 3, 2021, the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) started operation of a facility for production of prototype fuel assemblies with REMIX uranium-plutonium fuel for VVER-1000 reactors - light water reactors constituting the majority of the Russian reactor fleet. The production of the first REMIX fuel assemblies is conducted in cooperation with Mining and Chemical Combine, which produces uranium-plutonium pellets.

REMIX (regenerated mixture) fuel is a Russian design that uses reprocessed nuclear fuel with the addition of enriched uranium. Unlike uranium-plutonium fuel for fast neutron reactors (MNUP and MOX), REMIX fuel only contains less than 1.5% of plutonium. Its neutron spectrum, as well as behavior in the reactor's core, are similar to the enriched uranium fuel, which means it can be used in the existing reactor types. The use of the REMIX fuel closes the nuclear fuel cycle and permits the re-usage of spent nuclear fuel instead of its storage.

Since 2016, three prototype fuel assemblies each containing six REMIX fuel rods have been in operation at Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant. Several full REMIX fuel assemblies are scheduled to be produced in 2021. Once the fuel assemblies are tested and there is a clear demand from the market, Rosatom will move to the creation of the full-scale REMIX fuel production.

On June 2, 2021, SCC awarded a 1 million Rubles (USD 13 600) contract to I.I. Leypunsky Institute of Physics and Power Engineering for a review of nuclear safety during production, storage, and transportation of REMIX fuel.

Sources:
1. Rosatom Creates Prototype REMIX Fuel Production. June 3, 2021.
2. Procurement # 907-O070-21/507. Provision of Services of Review of Nuclear Security of the Process of Manufacturing, Testing and Storage of Fuel Assemblies, Fuel Rods with REMIX Fuel, Storage and Transportation of REMIX Fuel Pallets. June 2, 2021.