Development of a new type of reactors started in Russia
Just a few days ago, Rostekhnadzor issued a license permit for the construction in Russia of an experimental demonstration power unit, which will be implemented at a fast neutron reactor, such as BREST-OD-300. This step suggests that it is in the Russian Federation that the world's only civilian nuclear reactor with a heavy metal coolant will be created.
This was announced personally by the senior editor of the authoritative resource AtomInfo.ru A. Uvarov.
Thus, in Russia, the production of a "ground" version of reactors with a heavy metal coolant starts, which were previously used exclusively in submarines, which were successfully created by Soviet engineers.
I would like to emphasize that the Russian Federation is the only country in the world that has not only created but also used reactors of this type in real conditions.
Thus, the BREST-OD-300 unit under development will be the main unit of the ODEK (experimental demonstration energy complex), which is being built on the SKhK platform within the framework of the special project "Breakthrough".
So, in addition to the power block, the ODEC also includes capacities to create a combined uranium-plutonium nitride nuclear fuel and a special complex for reprocessing spent fuel. The launch of the reactor under construction is scheduled for mid-2026.
Why is such a reactor created?
The purpose of the BREST installation is to test in practice the main technological solutions that were laid down by the developers in the installation, where a lead coolant is used. As well as testing in practice the main postulates of passive safety of such reactors.
After all, a coolant in the form of lead has a number of obvious advantages. Thus, lead practically does not "slow down" neutrons, which is extremely important for the functioning of just such "fast" reactors.
In addition, lead has a fairly high melting point, which is approximately 1800 degrees Celsius. It is also chemically inactive both when interacting with the atmosphere and with water. In addition, for the operation of the reactor, it is not necessary to create excess pressure in the heat-transfer loop.
And it turns out that the unique combination of lead coolant and nitride fuel forms almost ideal conditions for the creation of nuclear fuel and almost completely excludes the most severe accidents, which, unfortunately, were in our history. Suffice it to recall Chernobyl and Fukushima.
So in this regard, the BREST reactor has a natural safety in many respects. Well, it remains to wait for the commissioning of an experimental reactor, and in the future, the construction of new reactors at nuclear power plants.