Russia in November 2016 invited India to join in developing next-generation nuclear reactors and participate in its fast reactor research project, known as MBIR (Russian acronym).
The information was given by ROSATOM’s project manager, Alexander Zagornov, who was in India for the opening of the company’s south Asia regional centre. ROSATOM is the nuclear corporation of Russia.
This multipurpose reactor is a type of reactor in which nuclear fission chain reaction is sustained by fast neutrons. This project is coming up at the International Research Center in Dimitrovgrad, located in the Ulyanovsk region.
Purpose of MBIR research reactor project
• The MBIR’s design includes three independent loops, which can be used to test different coolants like gas. Lead, molten salt and others. The facility will help in conducting material testing research in those different environments.
• Its main purpose is to conduct a large number of reactor studies of Generation 4 nuclear systems, including the fast neutron reactor with closed fuel cycle, as well as small and medium power thermal neutron reactors.
• The new technological platform is being created for nuclear energy, which will be based on the closed fuel cycle with fast neutron reactors.
• This closed fuel cycle involves recycling the nuclear waste as new fuel.
• It essentially signifies research on a sodium-cooled Generation 4 fast reactor to design an advanced fast neutron reactor for use in nuclear power plants.
• These types of reactors, also known as a fast reactor, are a type in which the nuclear fission chain reaction is sustained by fact neutrons. This type of reactors don’t need neutron moderator like normal water.
Benefits of fast-neutron reactors
• These fast-neutron reactors may help in solving the major ecological problem of reprocessing and deactivation of the accumulated radioactive waste.
• The closed fuel cycle will lead to the solution of the five key problems and they are safety, competitiveness, shortage of fuel, reprocessing and re-fabricating the used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. It will also be helpful in enforcing non-proliferation of fission materials and weapons technologies.