The BN-800 reactor at the Beloyarsk NPP has been loaded with MOX fuel containing americium and neptunium.
During the scheduled refueling at the Beloyarsk NPP’s Unit 4, its BN-800 fast neutron reactor has been for the first time loaded with lead-test assemblies of uranium-plutonium MOX fuel also containing the so-called minor actinides, the most radiotoxic and long-lived components from irradiated nuclear fuel.
The loading of innovative fuel into the reactor core was approved by Russia’s authorized regulator Rostekhnadzor (the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision), which had confirmed its safe operation. The power unit has resumed operation after the refueling.
The three lead-test MOX bundles containing americium-241 and neptunium-237 were manufactured at Rosatom’s Mining and Chemical Combine in late 2023. They will undergo pilot operation at the BN-800 core during three micro-campaigns (approximately a year and a half).
“The next micro-campaign of the BN-800 reactor should experimentally confirm the possibility of minor actinides utilization at industrial mode. The possibility to eliminate minor actinides is an advantage of fast neutron reactors, which allows reducing the volume of radioactive waste from the entire infrastructure of the nuclear fuel cycle of NPP operation,” said Ivan Sidorov, Director of the Beloyarsk.