The Volga Interregional Department for Supervision of Nuclear and Radiation Safety, a specialist commission of Russian regulator Rostechnadzor, has completed its checks of information submitted as part of the licence application for building a nuclear research facility with the multi-purpose fast neutron reactor, or MBIR by its Russian acronym.
The Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR) submitted the application, its parent company Rosatom said yesterday.
The regulatory inspection confirmed that NIIAR is "ready for the construction of the MBIR research reactor and the information submitted to Rostechnadzor for obtaining a construction licence is accurate and consistent with the actual status" of the project.
Rospriprodnadzor, the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources – which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment - approved the expert commission's conclusion to approve a construction license for MBIR.
Completion of the licensing procedure is expected next spring, Rosatom said.
The reactor complex - the International Research Centre - will be located at RIAR's site in Dimitrovgrad. The total, fully equipped cost is estimated to be $1 billion. Of that, the Russian budget has already provided $300 million, Rosatom deputy director general Vyacheslav Pershukov and MBIR project director Alexander Tuzov said at the International Atomic Energy Agency's General Conference in Vienna last month.
RIAR will be the legal owner of MBIR, performing operational and administrative functions as and when required, while the International Research Centre will be the legal entity responsible for marketing and research management.
MBIR will replace RIAR's BOR-60, which is the world's only fast research reactor in operation. Commissioned in 1969, BOR-60 is "fully contracted till the end of its lifetime in December 2020," Tuzov said. "Long-term irradiation tests in process with BOR-60 will be transferred to MBIR."
MBIR will use vibropacked mixed-oxide (VMOX) fuel, a Russian variant for MOX fuel production, in which blended (U, Pu) O2 and UO2 powders are loaded and compressed directly into the cladding tube. The VMOX for MBIR will have a plutonium content of 38%.