Russia plans to start construction of three BN-1200 sodium-cooled fast neutron reactors before 2030, the director general of Rosenergoatom, Evgeny Romanov, said on 21 July.
Russian nuclear engineering company OKBM Afrikantov is developing a BN-1200 reactor as a next step towards future reactor designs, commonly known as Generation IV.
"We associate fast reactors with our strategic goal of a closed nuclear fuel cycle," Romanov said. The first of these units will be located at the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant in Zarechny, in the Urals, he said.
Last month, Rosenergoatom engineers brought to criticality Beloyarsk 4 - a 789 MWe fast-neutron reactor of the BN-800 design. A subsidiary of Rosatom, Rosenergoatom operates all of Russia's civilian nuclear power plants.
Power units with BN reactors have a "unique competitive advantage" and the BN-800 will be able to operate for about 100 years, Romanov said.
The BN-1200 reactor for Beloyarsk will generate 1220 MWe and have a 60-year life. OKBM Afrikantov has said it envisages about 11 GWe of such plants by 2030, possibly including South Urals plant.
The core of a fast reactor is much smaller than that of a normal nuclear reactor, and it has a higher power density, requiring very efficient heat transfer.
The Beloyarsk plant, which was commissioned 50 years ago, had made an "incalculable"” contribution to the development of nuclear power in Russia, Romanov said.