Representatives from ROSATOM took part in the European Research Reactor Conference (RRFM) on 14-18 May in the Netherlands. Organised by the European Nuclear Society, the Conference has been held annually under the auspices of the IAEA for 20 years, and serves as a recognised international platform for the discussion of major issues concerning the safe and efficient operation of research reactors.
As part of the session on new projects to develop research reactors, ROSATOM presented its multipurpose fast neutron research reactor project (MBIR), which is the most advanced project in the world of its kind, offering a vast array of opportunities, and which is also the world’s most powerful fast neutron research facility. The project aims to reduce the international scientific community’s shortage of the essential large research reactors needed to develop Generation IV reactor technologies, as well as extend the working life of existing operational reactors, increasing their efficiency.
Alexander Zagornov, ROSATOM’s Innovation Management Division Project Manager, described the unique characteristics of the MBIR project. It will allow for the accomplishment of a wide range of research tasks, leading to the creation of new, competitive, and safe nuclear power plants in the future. In his report, he noted that “successful implementation of the MBIR project and launching on its basis an International Research Centre will have a significant impact, promoting the development of Generation IV technologies. One of the key tasks at this stage is shaping a multilateral scientific program to engage as many participants as possible in future-oriented studies and create a global competence centre for fast neutron reactors on the basis of the IRC MBIR”. International partners are invited to participate in creation of research infrastructure. Memorandums of understanding on participation in IRC MBIR have already been signed with representatives of four states; negotiations with three more potential partners are currently at an advanced stage.
The event attracted 235 experts from over 30 countries, representing state agencies, international organisations, leading companies in the industry, and major research centres and laboratories in Europe, the United States, Latin America and Asia. The participants also discussed the key and most relevant issues related to the design and operation of research reactors, presenting their own experience of implementing these kinds of projects. The discussion panels focused on topics concerning the nuclear fuel cycle, decommissioning, management, security and control.
An increasing number of countries are opting for nuclear power, beginning their programmes with research reactors, and then building nuclear science and technology centres to help them master nuclear technology and apply it in the fields of science, medicine, geology, agriculture and other areas of human activity. Represented by ROSATOM, today Russia is a world leader in the construction of research reactors. Over the last 50 years, the company has built more than 100 research reactors, including 19 overseas, many of which are still working in North Africa, Europe, Central and South-East Asia. In Russia, 52 research reactors are currently operating, accounting for over 20% of the total number of working research reactors in the world.